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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 1/2018

Adolescent childbearing trends and sub-national variations in Ethiopia: a pooled analysis of data from six surveys

Zeitschrift:
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth > Ausgabe 1/2018
Autoren:
Yared Mekonnen, Daniel S. Telake, Endeshaw Wolde

Abstract

Background

Ethiopia houses the second largest population of female adolescents in Africa. Adolescent childbearing can have detrimental effect to the health and wellbeing of women and their offspring. This study examined trends, sub-national variations and determinants of early childbearing (i.e. childbearing before age 20) in Ethiopia.

Methods

Data from the 2000–2011 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Surveys and from the 2014–2016 Performance Monitoring and Accountability surveys were pooled for this analysis. Based on the year the women reached puberty, five different cohorts were reconstructed that date back to the early 1970s. Kaplan-Meier methodology was used to estimate the cumulative probability of early childbearing and a Cox proportional hazard regression model to examine the associated factors.

Results

The cumulative probability of early childbearing declined by approximately two-fifth in the past four decades, from 57.6 to 35.3%. The occurrence of early childbearing varies substantially by region. In the most recent period, it ranged from 9.6% in Addis Ababa to 59% in Benishangul-Gumuz. Early childbearing risk was reduced by 95% for women who did not marry before the age of 20 years compared to those who married before the age of 18 years. For adolescents who married at the age of 18 and 19 years, early childbearing risk decreased by 60 and 78%, respectively. During the same period, there was a parallel decline in the cumulative probability of early marriage (i.e., before the legal age of 18 years) from 55.3 to 28.7%. Compared with adolescents with no education, those with elementary and secondary or higher education had a 50 and 82% lower risk of early childbearing, respectively.

Conclusions

Early childbearing declined in Ethiopia, largely driven by a parallel reduction in early marriage. However, a large portion of adolescents are still facing early childbearing, and the situation is more dismal in some regions than others. A further reduction in early childbearing is warranted by enforcing the law on the minimum marriage age and expanding secondary and higher education for females. These efforts should give greater emphasis to regions where early childbearing is markedly high.
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