2011 International Conference on Family Planning
29 November–2 December 2011
Girls married early are usually expected to bear children soon after the marriage. In Ethiopia, these early first births frequently take place at home and contribute to the significant level of maternal mortality in the country. Family planning to delay the first birth has the potential to increase a girl’s ability to safely manage her first pregnancy.
Data for this study is from the population-based study of over 14,000 adolescents and women in urban and rural areas of seven regions of Ethiopia. The study served as a baseline for four UNFPA projects. Enumeration areas (EA’s) were selected at random and all households in selected EA’s were listed. Young people aged 12 to 24 and women 25 to 49 were selected and interviewed using a largely close-ended instrument. This study focuses on data from 2,984 rural adolescent girls aged 12 to 24. Currently married girls with no children were recoded as to whether they were using family planning to delay their first birth or not. Descriptive statistics and multivariate models were used to describe married adolescent girls who were using family planning to delay their first birth.
Overall, 41 percent of rural girls 12 to 24 had ever been married. Thirty-three percent of married rural adolescent girls had ever used a family planning method, with injectables and pills the most common methods. Among currently married girls, 19 percent of girls without children and 28 percent of girls with children were using a method at the time of survey. In multivariate analysis exploring factors associated with use of family planning to delay the first birth, only level of education was significantly associated with using family planning to delay first birth. Other factors such as age of the respondent, spouse’s education, spousal age difference, and having worked for pay were not significantly associated with delaying the first birth using family planning. Interestingly, being a victim of domestic violence and having been married before the age of 15 were marginally significant and positively associated with the outcome.
One in five married adolescent girls in rural Ethiopia are using family planning to delay their first birth, suggesting acceptability of the practice. Family planning programs should extend efforts with this target group of girls married early.
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