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Factors related to unsuccessful lactogenesis – a literature review

Keywords: lactation disorders , breastfeeding , mother-child relations

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The objective of this literature review was to investigate the factors that may interfere in the production of breast milk (lactogenesis), making difficult the establishment of lactation and having hypogalactia as a result. Since breast milk is widely known as the most natural and important food for newborns, it is necessary for nurses to understand and acknowledge the physiological mechanisms involved in lactation in order to help mothers to achieve a successful breastfeeding. Methodology: Two computerized databases were assessed in search for articles: Literature Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences and Medical Literature and Retrieval System On Line, both covering a 10 years (1997-2007) period. Considering the objective of the study, 21 articles were selected; other academic text-books were also consulted for supporting the development of contents and concepts on lactation physiology. Results: Factors related to failure and/or delay in lactogenesis were: placental retention; deficiency and /or resistance to prolactine; presence of ovarian cysts; breast’s structural alterations; obesity; primiparity; prolonged labor and delivery; cesarean and hypotension. Conclusion: Lactogenesis is a subject that has not been properly acknowledged by nurses, although being essential for the proper establishment of breastfeeding, which is an important issue in nursing care and research. Relevance to clinical practice: When nurses take care of women who experience difficulties on breastfeeding, it is important to consider factors that may interfere in their lactogenesis; this issue seems to be rarely discussed in nursing literature. Therefore, in order to make women’s breastfeeding experience meaningful, enjoyable and effective, nurses should improve their knowledge to investigate factors related to those difficulties and plan interventions. This review is hoped to contribute in raising some aspects that should be addressed in client’s assessment and taken into consideration on planning nursing care.


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