Community-based Study on Newborn Care Practices and its Determinants in Rural Pondicherry, India

Vijayalakshmi S, Rajkumar Patil and Shib Sekhar Datta

Background: Globally, around 86% of neonatal deaths occurred are due to infections and preterm births. To prevent newborn infection, clean delivery and newborn carepractices should be adopted. Understanding of the community and traditional new-born care practices is necessary to implement the effective programme for promotion of newborns health.

Objectives: To study the new-born care practices and its determinants in a rural area of Puducherry, India.

Methodology: A cross sectional study done in Bahour commune from 1st April 2012 to 31st June 2012. Information regarding background details and new-born care practices were recorded in semi-structured questionnaire by house to house visit. Total of 136 infants born during Jan-March 2012 were enrolled. Data were presented as percentages, ratios and Chi-square test was used to find association among variables. p-value<0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: Among 136 newborns, 46.3% were male and 53.7% were female. Around 65% newborns were breastfed within an hour after birth and 5.9% were prelacteally fed. There was significant difference between male and female newborns in terms of wrapping after birth and day of first bath (p value 0.04 and 0.007 respectively). Out of 37 mothers who belonged to poor socio-economic status, 24.3% mothers practiced application on cord with significant association (p=0.03). Majority (70.6%) of mothers gave bath to their newborn’s on third day or beyond. In the present study, mothers age at marriage and day of first bath to newborn’s was significantly associated (p=0.02).

Conclusions: The overall practices like giving pre-lacteal feed; application on umbilical cord and giving bath immediately after bath of newborn are still practiced in the study area. Therefore, faulty newborn care practices need to be addressed.