Rutstein, Shea O. and Rebecca Winter. 2014. The Effects of Fertility Behavior on Child Survival and Child Nutritional Status: Evidence from the Demographic and Health Surveys, 2006-2012. DHS Analytical Studies No. 37. Calverton, Maryland, USA: ICF International.
This study analyzes the effect of inter-pregnancy spacing, age at birth and birth order on child mortality and nutritional status, using multivariate methods. The study uses data from 1,100,000 births that occurred in the fifteen years prior to the 45 DHS surveys between 2006 and 2012 surveys. Population attributable risk calculations indicate 26% excess under-five mortality due to birth to conception intervals shorter than 36 months. Children conceived after longer intervals are less likely to be stunted and underweight for their age. Giving birth at less than 18 years old or at 35 years or older increases the risks of dying and of being stunted. A child with all three fertility risk factors is twice as likely to die before reaching age five as a child with no risk factors, and if the child survives, she/he is thirty percent more likely to be suffering from chronic malnutrition.