The Association of Contraceptive Use, Non-Use, and Failure with Child Health

Authors

  • Jocelyn E Finlay Harvard University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.6000/1929-4247.2012.01.02.4

Keywords:

Contraceptive use, birth interval, child health outcomes, Demographic and Health Surveys, infant mortality.

Abstract

Objective: To examine the association of contraceptive use in the interpregnancy interval with subsequent child health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.
Design: A cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative household samples was performed. A modified Poisson regression model was used to estimate unadjusted and adjusted relative risk ratios for high prevalence outcomes.
Setting: Low- and middle-income countries.
Population: Births to women aged 12-49 years for which this birth occurred 12-79 months prior to the interview were included. The sample for analysing infant mortality was comprised of 453,795 children from 35 low- and middle-income countries across 67 Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 1990 and 2011.
Main Outcome Measures: Infant mortality, stunting, underweight, wasting, diarrhoea, and anaemia.
Results: Contraceptive use in the interpregnancy interval, even if contraceptive failure resulted in birth, had a positive effect on all child health outcomes compared to non-use of contraception in the interpregnancy interval. The positive effect of contraceptive use was the lengthening of the interpregnancy interval, but it also had a direct positive effect on child health, independent of birth interval.
Conclusions: Extending the interval between births had a positive effect on child health outcomes, and contraceptive use had a positive effect on child health independent of the birth spacing effect. Additionally, contraceptive failure did not adversely affect child health outcomes.

Author Biography

Jocelyn E Finlay, Harvard University

Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies

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2013-01-01

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