Early age at first childbirth and skilled birth attendance during delivery among young women in sub-Saharan Africa

Eugene BUDU, Vijay Kumar CHATTU, Bright Opoku AHINKORAH, Abdul-Aziz SEIDU*, Aliu MOHAMMED, Justice Kanor TETTEH, Francis ARTHUR-HOLMES, Collins ADU, Sanni YAYA

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

Abstract

Background
Despite the numerous policy interventions targeted at preventing early age at first childbirth globally, the prevalence of adolescent childbirth remains high. Meanwhile, skilled birth attendance is considered essential in preventing childbirth-related complications and deaths among adolescent mothers. Therefore, we estimated the prevalence of early age at first childbirth and skilled birth attendance among young women in sub-Saharan Africa and investigated the association between them.

Methods
Demographic and Health Survey data of 29 sub-Saharan African countries was utilized. Skilled birth attendance and age at first birth were the outcome and the key explanatory variables in this study respectively. Overall, a total of 52,875 young women aged 20-24 years were included in our study. A multilevel binary logistic regression analysis was performed and the results presented as crude and adjusted odds ratios at 95% confidence interval.

Results
Approximately 73% of young women had their first birth when they were less than 20 years with Chad having the highest proportion (85.7%) and Rwanda recording the lowest (43.3%). The average proportion of those who had skilled assistance during delivery in the 29 sub-Saharan African countries was 75.3% and this ranged from 38.4% in Chad to 93.7% in Rwanda. Young women who had their first birth at the age of 20-24 were more likely to have skilled birth attendance during delivery (aOR = 2.4, CI = 2.24-2.53) than those who had their first birth before 20 years.

Conclusion
Early age at first childbirth has been found to be associated with low skilled assistance during delivery. These findings re-emphasize the need for sub-Saharan African countries to implement programs that will sensitize and encourage the patronage of skilled birth attendance among young women in order to reduce complications and maternal mortalities. The lower likelihood of skilled birth attendance among young women who had their first birth when they were adolescents could mean that this cohort of young women face some barriers in accessing maternal healthcare services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number834
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume21
Issue number1
Early online date14 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge Measure DHS for providing us with the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Age at first birth
  • Demographic and health surveys
  • Global health
  • Skilled birth attendance
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Young women

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