Breastfeeding and Cesarean-Section Rates in Tanzania from 1996 to 2015


  • Nethra Ganesh Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Intern
  • Rebecca Robert Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Co-mentor
  • Dr. Amira Roess Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Primary Mentor



Breastfeeding can significantly reduce health risks for infants. Cesarean sections (c-sections) are among the different factors that impact breastfeeding rates. C-sections may negatively impact a mother’s ability to breastfeed. Previous studies in Tanzania revealed that c-section delivery leads to higher risks of neonatal deaths due to poor healthcare infrastructure. This study explores the association between c-sections and breastfeeding rates in Tanzania from 1996 to 2015. Data came from the Demographics and Health Survey (DHS) Program, which is conducted in low and middle-income countries. The main outcome was immediate breastfeeding (within the first hour of life) and the main exposure was c-section birth. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted. Graphs and data tables were created to display trends and patterns. When compared, c-sections and breastfeeding showcase an inverse relationship in Tanzania. Immediate breastfeeding rates decreased from 58.4% to 51.7%, while c-section rates increased from 5.2% to 6.4%. When stratifying by the 5 wealth categories, immediate breastfeeding rates decreased over the years and c-section rates significantly increased. The multivariable model showed that mothers who had a c-section had a lower likelihood of breastfeeding immediately. In Tanzania, higher c–section rates and lower breastfeeding rates could result in increased risk of neonatal deaths and maternal health issues. Maternal health care infrastructure should prioritize breastfeeding.





College of Public Health