The Effects of Pregnancy Spacing on Infant and Child Mortality in Matlab, Bangladesh

How They Vary By the Type of Pregnancy Outcome That Began the Interval

Published In: Population Studies, v. 62, no. 2, July 2008, p. 131-154

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2007

by Julie DaVanzo, Lauren Hale, Abdur Razzaque, Mizanur Rahman

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Using high-quality longitudinal data on 125,720 singleton live births in Matlab, Bangladesh, we assessed the effects of duration of intervals between pregnancy outcomes on infant and child mortality and how these effects vary over subperiods of infancy and childhood and by the type of outcome that began the interval. Controlling for other correlates of infant and child mortality, we find that shorter intervals are associated with higher mortality. Interval effects are greater if the interval began with a live birth than with another pregnancy outcome. In the first week of the child's life, the effects of short intervals are greater if the sibling born at the beginning of the interval died; after the first month, the effects are greater if that sibling was still alive. Many relationships found are consistent with the maternal depletion hypothesis, and some with sibling competition. Some appear to be due to correlated risks among births to the same mother.

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