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Open Access Research article

Determinants of unwanted pregnancies in India using matched case-control designs

Priyanka Dixit1*, Faujdar Ram1 and Laxmi Kant Dwivedi2

Author Affiliations

1 International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India

2 Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2012, 12:84  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-84

Published: 11 August 2012

Abstract

Background

In India, while the total fertility rate has been declined from 3.39 in 1992–93 to 2.68 in 2005–06, the prevalence of unintended pregnancy is still stagnant over the same period. A review of existing literature shows that within the country, there are variations in fertility preferences between different regions. Also there is a strong argument that the availability of a health facility at the village level plays an important role in reshaping the fertility behavior of women. Keeping in mind the fact that there is no information at the village level (which is the lowest geographical boundary) in the recent round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), the specific objective of this study is to examine the impact of individual and household level variables on unwanted pregnancies without controlling the village level variation. Further, once the village level variation (i.e. unobserved variation) has been controlled, it is necessary to study whether there has been any alteration in the contribution of factors from earlier results of without adjusting the village level variation.

Methods

This paper attempts to examine the associated factors of unwanted pregnancies, without matching the village and after matching the village, by using the matched case–control design. Nationwide data from India’s latest NFHS-3 conducted during 2005–06 was used for the present study. Frequency and pair wise matching has been applied in the present paper and conditional logistic regression analysis was used to work out the models and to find out the factors associated with unwanted pregnancies.

Results

A major finding of this study was that 1:3 case–control study (without matching the village) shows that women belonging to non Hindu/Muslim religion, Scheduled Tribe, women who have experienced child loss and if the previous birth interval is 24 through 36 months were significant predictors of unwanted pregnancy. However, this relationship did not hold significant after village wise matching. Other factors such as Muslim religion, women and their partners with high school education and above, women belonging to the richest wealth index and if the sex of the last child was female, emerge as significant predictors of unwanted pregnancies.

Conclusions

This study clearly underscores the importance of adjusting the village (PSU) level variation in explaining unwanted pregnancies.