Breastfeeding and Cesarean-Section Rates in the Dominican Republic from 1996 to 2013


  • Lily Watson Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Intern
  • Rebecca Robert Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Co-mentor
  • Amira Roess Aspiring Scientists’ Summer Internship Program Primary Mentor



Breastfeeding and c-section rates serve as important indicators for countries’ maternal and infant health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and an average cesarean-section (c-section) rate of 10-15%. This study aims to investigate the associations between breastfeeding and c-section rates in the Dominican Republic from 1996 to 2013. Data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) were analyzed using descriptive, bivariate, and multivariable logistic regression analysis. Trends in breastfeeding and c-section rates were visualized using Tableau data visualization software. The early initiation rate decreased from 60.9% in 1996 to 45.1% in 2013. The c-section rate nearly tripled from 1996 (26.7%) to 2013 (60.7%). Multivariable logistic regression results showed women with c-sections were significantly less likely to breastfeed across all time periods. Large disparities in early initiation and c-section rates were found between wealth levels. Preliminary results suggest that government and non-profit organization's efforts to improve maternal and infant health should focus their efforts on reducing c-section rates and increasing early initiation rates to reach WHO standards, specifically by addressing wealth disparities.





College of Public Health