Many new mothers are not receiving proper information from doctors who generally provide advice on how to raise their offspring. Information on breastfeeding, immunization, and proper sleep positioning were among the subjects many mothers felt they were lacking details on, according to a new study.
Researchers surveyed 1,000 new mothers across America, asking about the health advice they received from health care professionals, as well as media sources and family members.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome takes the lives of far too many infants, but placing the babies on their backs, on a firm mattress, has been shown to reduce fatalities. This simple piece of advice, along with help with breastfeeding, were among the pieces of information 20 percent of mothers said they did not receive from their doctors. Researchers found 50 percent of all new mothers were not provided guidance on which room of the house is best for infants to sleep in. Most health professionals currently recommend babies sleep in the same room as the parents, but in a safety-approved crib.
"Earlier studies have shown that new mothers listen to their physicians. This survey shows that physicians have an opportunity to provide new mothers with much-needed advice on how to improve infant health and even save infant lives," said Marian Willinger from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
First-time mothers, as well as African-American and Hispanic women, were found to receive more information than Caucasion patients, or those who had already delivered children.
Organizations working to support improved health among infants are stressing that health advice provided by doctors and others to new mother can improve the well-being of young babies, and lower death rates.
A total of 1,031 new mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire, detailing information about child care they received from various sources, between the ages of two and six months.
The survey sought to understand the advice women were provided, as well as understanding how well that information matched current scientific standards. Roughly 25 percent of information provided concerning sleep position or location was deemed to be inconsistent with current medical understanding, as was 10 to 15 percent of advice concerning breastfeeding and pacifier use. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of new mothers who received incorrect advice on sleep position were told to place the baby on his or her stomach, a position known to pose the greatest risk of SIDS.
Researchers believe many health-care providers may provide advice contrary to current standards if they disagree with the conclusion. Others may not dispense advice over concerns about the time it may take to dispense the information, researchers stated.
Analysis of information provided to new mothers by various sources was detailed in the journal Pediatrics.
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