The Association of Couple Characteristics and Women's Status Measures with Unintended Pregnancy in Bangladesh

Jessica D. Gipson, Johns Hopkins University

This study explores the factors associated with unintended pregnancies that occurred to 2,249 couples who participated in the 1999-2000 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. Women who reported use of modern family planning methods were significantly more likely to categorize their last birth as mistimed or unwanted, and their current pregnancy as unwanted. Women were also less likely to characterize their last birth as mistimed if they had a son versus a daughter. The study findings confirm the multidimensional nature of 'women's status' and show disparate relationships between husband and wife measures. Age at marriage and women’s literacy status, independent of and relative to their husbands, showed the expected associations with respect to unwanted births; however, other variables, such as spousal age gap and husband’s opinion regarding wife beating and women’s decision-making, contradict the central hypothesis that women with higher status would be more likely to prevent unintended births.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Fertility, Family Planning, Unions, and Sexual Behavior