Short pregnancy intervals can contribute to maternal and child morbidity and mortality. No previous research has explored factors associated with short pregnancy intervals among young women in Uganda, where adolescent pregnancy and short birth intervals are common.
Data on 626 married or cohabiting women aged 15–22 with one or two previous pregnancies were drawn from the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to examine characteristics associated with rapid repeat pregnancy, defined in two ways: a pregnancy occurring within 24 months or 12 months of a prior pregnancy outcome.
Among women, 74% and 37% had experienced a rapid repeat pregnancy within 24 months and 12 months, respectively. Rural women were more likely than urban women to have had a rapid repeat pregnancy within 24 months (odds ratio, 2.4). Women aged 15–17 and those 18 or older at first union were more likely than women younger than 15 to have had a rapid repeat pregnancy within 24 months (3.8 and 3.4); those whose partner had at least a secondary education had lower odds than others of the outcome (0.6). The odds of rapid repeat pregnancy increased with the number of months between marriage and first birth (1.05). Variables associated with rapid repeat pregnancy within 12 months included urban-rural residence, region, age at first union and marriage-to-birth interval.
Efforts to reduce rapid repeat pregnancy among young women in Uganda should focus on rural areas. Strategies to reach women during antenatal care and the postpartum period after their first birth should be prioritized.
Holly McClain Burke is scientist, Leila Dal Santo is research associate, Alissa Bernholc is biostatistician and Mario Chen is associate director of biostatistics—all with FHI 360, Durham, NC, USA. Angela Akol is country director, FHI 360, Kampala, Uganda.