MPIDR Working Paper
Teenage childbearing and child health in Eritrea
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2005-029, 24 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (September 2005)
Data from the 2002 Eritrea Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) are used to examine teenage childbearing and its health consequences. Bivariate analysis is used to calculate trends and differentials in teenage childbearing. Logistic and Cox hazard models are employed to examine the health impact of teenage childbearing on mothers and their children. Teenage childbearing is high in Eritrea, where around half of all women aged 19 have already been pregnant with their first child. Nearly all first births among teenagers occur within marriage. A decline in teenage childbearing is evident over the period 1995-2002. If the mother is a teenager when she gives birth, particularly if she is under 18, she can expect worse prenatal medical care, an increased risk of low birth weight and higher child mortality compared to an older mother. The effect of age of mothers is significant even when controlling for sociodemographic factors. Strategies designed to reduce the health effecs of teenage childbearing should address both maternal age and behavioral factors.