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Prevalence and Determinants of Unintended Pregnancy in Mchinji District, Malawi; Using a Conceptual Hierarchy to Inform Analysis

Hall, JA; Barrett, G; Phiri, T; Copas, A; Malata, A; Stephenson, J; (2016) Prevalence and Determinants of Unintended Pregnancy in Mchinji District, Malawi; Using a Conceptual Hierarchy to Inform Analysis. PLOS ONE , 11 (10) 10.1371/journal.pone.0165621. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: In 2012 there were around 85 million unintended pregnancies globally. Unintended pregnancies unnecessarily expose women to the risks associated with pregnancy, unsafe abortion and childbirth, thereby contributing to maternal mortality and morbidity. Studies have identified a range of potential determinants of unplanned pregnancy but have used varying methodologies, measures of pregnancy intention and analysis techniques. Consequently there are many contradictions in their findings. Identifying women at risk of unplanned pregnancy is important as this information can be used to help with designing and targeting interventions and developing preventative policies. Methods: 4,244 pregnant women from Mchinji District, Malawi were interviewed at home between March and December 2013. They were asked about their pregnancy intention using the validated Chichewa version of the London Measure of Unplanned Pregnancy, as well as their socio-demographics and obstetric and psychiatric history. A conceptual hierarchical model of the determinants of pregnancy intention was developed and used to inform the analysis. Multiple random effects linear regression was used to explore the ways in which factors determine pregnancy intention leading to the identification of women at risk of unplanned pregnancies. Results: 44.4% of pregnancies were planned. On univariate analyses pregnancy intention was associated with mother and father’s age and education, marital status, number of live children, birth interval, socio-economic status, intimate partner violence and previous depression all at p<0.001. Multiple linear regression analysis found that increasing socio-economic status is associated with increasing pregnancy intention but its effect is mediated through other factors in the model. Socio-demographic factors of importance were marital status, which was the factor in the model that had the largest effect on pregnancy intention, partner’s age and mother’s education level. The effect of mother’s education level was mediated by maternal reproductive characteristics. Previous depression, abuse in the last year or sexual abuse, younger age, increasing number of children and short birth intervals were all associated with lower pregnancy intention having controlled for all other factors in the model. This suggests that women in Mchinji District who are either young, unmarried women having their first pregnancy, or older, married women who have completed their desired family size or recently given birth, or women who have experienced depression, abuse in the last year or sexual abuse are at higher risk of unintended pregnancies. Conclusion: A simple measure of pregnancy intention with well-established psychometric properties was used to show the distribution of pregnancy planning among women from a poor rural population and to identify those women at higher risk of unintended pregnancy. An analysis informed by a conceptual hierarchical model shed light on the pathways that lead from socio-demographic determinants to pregnancy intention. This information can be used to target family planning services to those most at risk of unplanned pregnancies, particularly women with a history of depression or who are experiencing intimate partner violence.

Type: Article
Title: Prevalence and Determinants of Unintended Pregnancy in Mchinji District, Malawi; Using a Conceptual Hierarchy to Inform Analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165621
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165621
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Hall et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, REPRODUCTIVE INTENTIONS, UNPLANNED PREGNANCY, WOMEN, CHILD, OUTCOMES, ECUADOR, WEIGHT, INFANT
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Inst for Women's Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Inst for Women's Health > Reproductive Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1527221
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