Planning of births and maternal, child health, and nutritional outcomes: recent evidence from India

M. J. Rana, A. Gautam, S. Goli, Uttamacharya, T. Reja, P. Nanda, N. Datta, R. Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: In an effort to provide recommendation for maximizing synergy between maternal, infant, and young children's nutrition and family planning in India, this study makes a comprehensive assessment of the effects of the planning of births in terms of timing, spacing and limiting childbearing on maternal and child health outcomes. Study design: This study used the latest National Family Health Survey data of India that is globally known as the Demographic and Health Survey. A robust two-stage systematic random sampling was used for selecting representative samples for measuring demographic and health indicators. Methods: Maternal and child health outcomes are measured by body mass index (grouped as normal, underweight, and overweight) and anemia for mothers, and stunting, underweight, anemia, and under-five mortality for the children. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models were applied. Results: Women with a higher number of births and among those with first-order births with fewer than 2 years between marriage and first birth, the risk of being underweight and having anemia was significantly higher compared with their counterparts. In addition, the probability of being underweight and risk of stunting, anemia, and mortality was higher among the children from women with a higher number of births and with fewer than 3 years of spacing between births than that of their counterparts. Conclusions: The findings from this study support the importance of birth planning in improving maternal, child health, and nutritional outcomes. The proper planning of births could help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal-3 of good health and well-being for all by 2030 in India, where a significant proportion of women still participate in early marriages, early childbearing, and a large number of births with close spacing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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