Objective The interval between births is associated with child survival in the developing world. We aimed to investigate associations between use of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate and other reversible contraception and short birth intervals in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods Data from successive Demographic and Health Surveys undertaken in nine African countries were analyzed. Logistic regression was used to explain changes in the proportion of short birth intervals in four countries with relatively high use of reversible contraception.
Findings The overall odds ratio for the trend was 0.90 (95% CI 0.84 to 0.95) and this was unaffected by adjusting for the other variables. The odds of a short birth interval were reduced by exclusive breastfeeding (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.78) and increased by use of injectable contraception (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.38).
Conclusion The proportion of short birth intervals has changed little over the last decade in a context of very low use of the intrauterine device. Widespread adoption of injectable contraception is associated with greater odds of a short birth interval, thus not contributing favorable conditions for improved child health.
Ngianga-Bakwin, K.; Stones, R.W. Birth intervals and injectable contraception in sub-Saharan Africa. Contraception (2005) 71 (5) 353-356. [DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2004.10.013]