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Can women’s 3E index impede short birth interval? evidence from Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, 2017–18
Authors: Fatima Tuz-Zahura, Kanchan Kumar Sen, Shahnaz Nilima, Wasimul Bari
Source: PLOS ONE , Volume 17, Issue 1; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263003
Topic(s): Maternal health
Women’s empowerment
Country: Asia
Published: JAN 2022
Abstract: Background Women’s empowerment, education, and economic status are jointly introduced as women’s 3E. A number of studies found the significant association of these three variables with maternal health outcomes, but no studies, to the best of knowledge, have been found to justify the joint influence of women’s 3E on the birth interval. As several studies have revealed that the short birth interval increases the risk of adverse maternal, perinatal, and infant outcomes and it is also responsible for increasing the country’s population size, more research is needed on the birth interval. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the influence of women’s 3E on the short birth interval after controlling the other selected covariates. Methods Data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), 2017–18 have been used to serve the purpose of the study. To measure the birth interval, at least two live births for non-pregnant mothers and at least one live birth for currently pregnant mothers born in the 5 years before the survey were included in the study. The Chi-Square test was applied to know the unadjusted association of the selected covariates including women’s 3E with the short birth interval. In order to find out the adjusted association of women’s 3E with the short birth interval, sequential binary logistic regression models have been used. Results The study found that about 23% of births in Bangladesh were born in a short birth interval. The likelihood of subsequent births of women decreases with an increase in the score of women’s 3E before or after controlling the characteristics of women, child, and households. The results of the final model show that mothers with the coverage of 50% - 75%, 75% - 100%, and full coverage (100%) in 3E have a 23%, 41%, and 42% lower odds of having short birth interval compared to mothers with coverage of below 50% in 3E, respectively. Conclusion and recommendation Bangladesh still lags behind in meeting the minimum requirements for inter-birth intervals set by the World Health Organization. The study has shown that the 3E in women can contribute in prolonging the duration of subsequent births in Bangladesh. Policy-making interventions are needed to raise awareness among uneducated, under-empowered and economically poor reproductive women through family planning and fertility control programs so that the country can achieve the desired fertility rate.