Publications Summary

Document Type
Methodological Reports
Publication Topic(s)
Survey Methodology, Data Quality, Analysis
Recommended Citation
Riese, Sara, and Blake Zachary. 2023. Consistency of Pregnancy Outcome and Contraceptive Reporting Using the Pregnancy History Versus Birth History. DHS Methodological Reports No. 35. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF.
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Publication Date
September 2023
Publication ID


This study examines the consistency of reporting for two important pieces of information from the DHS reproductive calendar: first, births and terminations and second, contraceptive use. We use three measures of contraceptive use—overall contraceptive use, traditional contraceptive method use, and coitus-based contraceptive method use. For all these outcomes, we investigate within-survey consistency, comparing consistency from the early period of the calendar to the later period, and focus on if using a pregnancy history improves consistency of reporting when compared to a birth history. We find that surveys with pregnancy histories are more likely to have consistent reporting of births and terminations. Among the three measures of contraceptive use, use of a pregnancy history was only associated with improved consistency in reporting of coitus-based contraceptive method use. We also found that the later period of the calendar is more likely to have consistent reporting of births, terminations, and all categories of contraceptive use compared to the early period. These findings suggest that the DHS-8 shift to using pregnancy histories in the reproductive calendar will improve consistency of reporting of births, terminations, and some types of contraceptive use. In addition, we suggest exploring potential modifications to the reproductive calendar to improve data quality and consistency.


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