MacQuarrie, Kerry L. D., Quamrun Nahar, Rasheda Khan, and Marzia Sultana. 2016. Why So Young? The Social Context of Early Childbearing and Contraception among Young Women in Khulna, Bangladesh. DHS Further Analysis Reports No. 99. Dhaka, Bangladesh and Rockville, Maryland, USA:
National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT), International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), and ICF International.
This study on the social context of early childbearing is one of three qualitative studies emanating from the 2014 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS). The qualitative study adopted a nested
design and drew its sample from among eligible respondents to the BDHS. This study conducted in depth interviews with 30 women age 15-22 who had married before age 18 in Khulna division, Bangladesh. The study was motivated to investigate why young, married women bear a first child at a
young age. We find that women enter into marriage suddenly and without knowledge of contraception. Young women want to delay a first pregnancy, but still want a birth within adolescence. Spousal communication and women’s decision-making are low and young women defer decisions on
childbearing and contraception to others. Women’s fertility desires are frequently discordant with those of their husbands, their in-law family, or both. Women, their husbands, and their family members are
all concerned with the health consequences of early childbearing. However, concerns about the health effects of contraception promote early pregnancies. Thus, women’s abilities to meet their fertility
aspirations are challenged by discordant childbearing aims, limited options for contraceptive methods, and discontinuation of contraception due to side effects and concerns about infertility.