The consequences of unintended fertility for maternal and child health in India

Abhishek Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Satvika Chalasani, Pennsylvania State University
Michael Koenig, Johns Hopkins University
Bidhubhusan Mahapatra, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT)

Data from the Indian National Family Health Survey of 2005-06 are used to explore how intention status of pregnancy (at the time of conception) influences the likelihood of the mother having a safe delivery, the child receiving a full set of vaccinations, the child being stunted, and neonatal and postneonatal mortality. Logistic regression is used for all the outcomes, in conjunction with a sibling-difference model to address unobserved heterogeneity. Infant mortality is additionally modeled using discrete time survival analysis. Preliminary results indicate that unintended births (both mistimed and unwanted) are about 30% more likely than wanted births to be delivered unsupervised by any medical personnel, 60% less likely to have received all the recommended immunizations, and 20% more likely to be stunted. Given the high levels of unintended fertility (21% of births) in India, these are important findings that underscore the importance of continued and increasing investments in family planning.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Reproductive health, HIV-AIDS, poverty and gender