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Later life outcomes of women by adolescent birth history: analysis of the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey
Authors: Dinah Amongin, Anna Kagesten, Ozge Tuncalp, A. Nakimuli, Mary Nakafeero, Lynn Atuyambe, Claudia Hanson, and Lenka Benova
Source: BMJ Open, DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-041545
Topic(s): Education
Unintended pregnancy
Country: Africa
Published: FEB 2021
Abstract: Objectives: To describe the long-term socioeconomic and reproductive health outcomes of women in Uganda by adolescent birth history. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Uganda. Participants: Women aged 40-49 years at the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey. Outcome measures: We compared socioeconomic and reproductive outcomes among those with first birth <18 years versus not. Among those with a first birth <18 years, we compared those with and without repeat adolescent births (another birth <20 years). We used two-sample test for proportions, linear regression and Poisson regression. Findings: Among the 2814 women aged 40-49 years analysed, 36.2% reported a first birth <18 years and 85.9% of these had a repeat adolescent birth. Compared with women with no birth <18 years, those with first birth <18 years were less likely to have completed primary education (16.3% vs 32.2%, p<0.001), more likely to be illiterate (55.0% vs 44.0%, p<0.001), to report challenges seeking healthcare (67.6% vs 61.8%, p=0.002) and had higher mean number of births by age 40 years (6.6 vs 5.3, p<0.001). Among women married at time of survey, those with birth <18 years had older husbands (p<0.001) who also had lower educational attainment (p<0.001). Educational attainment, household wealth score, total number of births and under-5 mortality among women with one adolescent birth were similar, and sometimes better, than among those with no birth <18 years. Conclusions: Results suggest lifelong adverse socioeconomic and reproductive outcomes among women with adolescent birth, primarily in the category with repeat adolescent birth. While our results might be birth-cohort specific, they underscore the need to support adolescent mothers to have the same possibilities to develop their potentials, by supporting school continuation and prevention of further unwanted pregnancies.