Understanding the Effects of Birthspacing on Infant and Child Survival: An Analysis of Data from Matlab, Bangladesh
Julie DaVanzo, RAND
Abdur Razzaque, ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research
Mizanur Rahman, Pathfinder International
A number of analyses have examined the relationship between birth intervals and infant and child mortality, but few have adequately controlled for potentially confounding variables so that they can clearly understand the effect of varying birth intervals on child health and the reasons for these effects. Using a large, high-quality longitudinal dataset gathered over twenty years from an experimental setting in Matlab, Bangladesh, we seek a better understanding of the relationship between the lengths of birth intervals and infant and child mortality. Using both descriptive and multivariate analyses, we explore the shape of the relationship between the lengths of birth intervals and child survival, the cumulative effects of birth intervals, and how confounding variables (e.g., premature births, breastfeeding, availability of contraception) affect these relationships. We used fixed-effects to assess whether, within a family, children born after very short or very long intervals more likely to die than siblings born after medium intervals.