A cross sectional study of newborn care practices in Gilgit, Pakistan

G. N. Khan, Z. A. Memon, Z. A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to explore the traditional newborn-care beliefs and practices and to identify factors that affect newborn health, aiming to design an appropriate, culturally-sensitive and acceptable intervention to reduce neonatal morbidity and mortality. METHODS: A cross sectional study was conducted in the district of Gilgit in Pakistan. A structured questionnaire was administered to 708 mothers who gave birth to a live child in the past one year. Descriptive and inferential analysis was performed to identify socio-economic and health care factors associated with newborn care practices. RESULTS: Illiterate mothers were more likely to use harmful newborn care practices, while those seeking health care from private sector were less likely to use harmful newborn care practices. Ninety-four percent of the newborns were given a bath soon after birth, likelihood to be 2 times more amongst illiterate mothers. Cord application was a very common practice, mostly with matti (crashed apricot seed), and a majority of the mothers reported newborn massage generally with mustard oil. The administration of colostrum as the first feed was relatively common in the study area. Twenty-seven percent of mothers reported giving pre-lacteals; from which prominent feeds included salt water (44%) and cow's milk (26%). Initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour after birth was (71%), while (29%) reported to breastfeed their newborn within 24 hours. Thirty-seven percent newborns were exclusively breastfed for six months. CONCLUSION: This study underscores the existence and predominance of risky practices in newborn care; that stresses the need for health education programs to ensure safety of the newborn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Gilgit1
  • Newborn care
  • bathing
  • cord care
  • feeding
  • practices


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