The Effect of Birth Intention Status on Maternal and Child Outcomes in Low and Middle-Income Countries: A Fixed Effects Analysis
Heini Vaisanen1, Ewa Batyra2
1University of Southampton, 2Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Most studies on the effect of pregnancy intentions on mothers’ and children’s wellbeing cannot separate the effect of pregnancy intention status from the socio-demographic characteristics associated with it. There is a lack of studies on the topic in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) taking a multi-country comparative perspective. We analyse 59 Demographic and Health Surveys to examine the effect of pregnancy intentions on child mortality, low birth weight and place of delivery using sibling fixed-effects models to control for confounding due to unobserved family socio-demographic characteristics. Results show unwanted/mistimed children have a higher risk of mortality in 36 countries, low birth weight in 10, and lower likelihood of delivery in a health facility in 6. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to analyse the effect of pregnancy intention status on mother and child outcomes using a cross-country comparative setting in LMICs and fixed effects models.