216592 Restoring Motherhood: A qualitative study about the significance of breastfeeding to incarcerated pregnant women in a New York City Jail

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Katy Huang, BN, MIH, IBCLC , With the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine at the time of the study, New York, NY
Rebecca Atlas, MPH , With the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygeine at the time of the study, New York, NY
Farah Parvez, MD, MPH , Office of Correctional Public Health, Department of Health and Mental Hygeine, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, New York, NY
This study aims to explore the breastfeeding knowledge, beliefs and experiences of pregnant women incarcerated in New York City jails. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 pregnant women in a New York City Jail. Research methods were inspired by grounded theory. Results: Three main themes emerged from women's collective stories about wanting to breastfeed and the challenges that they experienced. First, incarceration removes women from their familiar social and cultural context, which creates uncertainty in their breastfeeding plans. Second, incarceration and the separation from their high risk lifestyle compels women to want a new start in motherhood. Third, planning to breastfeed represents a new start in motherhood and gives women the opportunity to redefine their maternal identity and roles. The overarching theory generated from these themes revealed that, for incarcerated women in NYC jails, breastfeeding has the potential to restore their sense of self-worth by contributing to their goal of being a good mother Conclusion: Breastfeeding is valued by incarcerated pregnant women and has the potential to contribute to their psychosocial wellbeing. Understanding the breastfeeding experiences and views of high-risk women in the unique context of incarceration is important for guiding breastfeeding promotion activities to this transient and vulnerable population. Implications from the findings will be useful to correctional facilities and community providers working in areas that serve a similar high-risk population.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify specific barriers incarcerated women face when planning to breastfeed Discuss how substance abuse affects womenís breastfeeding plans Describe how jail can support motherhood and breastfeeding plans Describe why incarcerated women value breastfeeding Identify the unique psychosocial benefits breastfeeding for incarcerated pregnant women

Keywords: Correctional Institutions, Breastfeeding

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author because I have a MPH in maternal and child health and was a co-author in the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.