Background: Adolescents consistently demonstrate the lowest rates of breastfeeding among women of reproductive age despite well-documented benefits of breastfeeding. In Amarillo, Texas, a medium-sized community with a perennially high teen pregnancy rate, we sought (1) to determine breastfeedings practices among adolescent females immediately after delivery and again at 6 weeks and (2) to identify contraceptive choices among the same teen population. Methods: This was a retrospective chart review focused on adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 coming to a university-based obstetrical service between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2008. Data on breastfeeding and contraceptive practices were analyzed. Results: Five hundred forty-three cases were analyzed. At hospital discharge, 59.3% initiated breastfeeding, but this dropped to 22.2% at the 6-week postpartum appointment. Over 27% of all study subjects failed to appear for postpartum evaluation. Multiparity was the only outcome variable associated with failure to initiate breastfeeding. Depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate, the levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD), and combination oral contraceptives were the most popular contraceptive choices, but 16% elected to forego any form of contraception at the postpartum visit. Conclusions: Adolescent women living in an area of Texas with a high teen pregnancy rate reported relatively low breastfeeding rates immediately postpartum, with a >50% decrease in breastfeeding in any form by 6 weeks postpartum. A substantial number failed to initiate any form of contraception at the postpartum visit. These findings support the critical need for additional breastfeeding support and contraceptive education in this at-risk adolescent population.
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