Comparing Maternal Health Indicators between Teenagers and Older Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from DHS

Monica A. Magadi, University of Southampton
Alfred Otieni Agwanda, University of Nairobi
Francis Obare, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Negussie Taffa, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

This paper uses DHS data from 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, collected in the late 1990s and early 2000s. A comparison of maternal health indicators between teenagers and older women, based on logistic regression analyses show that in general, the teenagers are more likely to report unintended fertility (especially mistimed), receive inadequate antenatal care (start late and attend fewer visits), have non-facility delivery, and have a small baby at birth. However, teenagers are less likely to have had Caesarean section deliveries compared to older women. An examination of the country level variations shows significant differences in maternal health indicators between countries. However, there is no evidence that the observed pattern by maternal age varies significantly between countries. For teenagers with characteristics associated with higher Caesarean section or unwanted fertility rates, being in countries with overall higher levels of these outcomes greatly amplifies their chances of experiencing these outcomes.

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Presented in Session 39: Adolescent Reproductive Health in Developing Countries