Video Addressing Barriers Related to Embarrassment, Convenience, and Social Support Increases Reported Likelihood of Breastfeeding among Pregnant Women in Appalachia

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While rates of breastfeeding have been increasing in the United States in recent decades, disparities exist among certain populations, including residents of the rural Southeast. Mothers’ perceptions of embarrassment, convenience, and social support related to breastfeeding may affect whether they choose to breastfeed and for how long. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a video intervention in improving perceptions of breastfeeding among pregnant women presenting for a prenatal clinic visit in rural Appalachia. Its effectiveness in increasing reported likelihood of breastfeeding was also assessed.


A multidisciplinary course team established a partnership with an OB/GYN clinic that serves a high volume of pregnant women. A 15 minute video addressing issues of embarrassment, convenience and social support related to breastfeeding was shown in the clinic waiting room. The video, Breastfeeding: Another Way of Saying I Love You, had been previously developed and evaluated by the Mississippi Department of Health. Pregnant women visiting the clinic during 8 days in 2009 were invited to complete an anonymous written survey immediately before and after viewing the video. The survey included items on demographics, perceptions of breastfeeding, and intention to breastfeed. Descriptive statistics were calculated. The proportion of women reporting improved perceptions of breastfeeding was compared between subgroups using chi-square testing. Mean breastfeeding perception scores were compared between subgroups and changes in women’s intention to breastfeed were evaluated.


Before watching the video, of the 77 participants, 38.9% reported previously breastfeeding a child, 51.3% planned to breastfeed, and 25% were undecided. Consistent with demographics of the region, participants were predominantly white (91%). Twenty-six percent were teenagers and 71.5% reported having a high school education or less. After viewing the video, perceptions of embarrassment, convenience, and social support related to breastfeeding improved in a range of 39-44.2%, 37-40%, and 33.3-63% of women, respectively. Mothers who watched the video with a supportive other were more likely to report improved perceptions of embarrassment than mothers who watched the video alone (t=3.577, df=73, p=.001). Of the mothers who reported being undecided about breastfeeding prior to watching the video, 57.9% reported being more likely to breastfeed after watching the video (chi2=10.22, df=2, p=0.006).


The findings suggest this time-efficient video intervention was an effective means of improving perceptions of breastfeeding during the prenatal period among a sample of rural Appalachian women. Results indicate that its efficacy is significantly improved if pregnant women view it with a supportive other, and it is most useful in increasing likelihood of breastfeeding in women who are undecided about how they will feed their child.


San Francisco, CA

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