Volume 101, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated data from the 2014 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), which consisted of 7,707 married women aged 15–49 years who lived with at least one child younger than 5 years. This study’s primary aim was to examine the relationship between maternal high-risk fertility behavior and child morbidity. To define high-risk fertility behaviors, we considered three variables: maternal age at the time of delivery, birth order, and birth interval. The main outcome measures were mortality-related disease in the past 2 weeks (acute respiratory infection [ARI], diarrhea, and fever) and low birth weight (LBW). We used modified Poisson regression with generalized estimating equations to assess the relationships between the variables of interest. Results indicate that a substantial portion of women (34%) exhibited high-risk fertility patterns; 28.7% engaged in a single high-risk behavior and 5.4% engaged in multiple high-risk behaviors. After adjusting for relevant covariates, high-risk fertility behaviors were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of ARI (adjusted relative risk [ARR]: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.05–1.50), diarrhea (ARR: 1.18, 95% CI: 1.03–1.35), fever (ARR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.11–1.58), and LBW (ARR: 1.27, 95% CI: 1.10–1.52). In addition, engaging in multiple high-risk fertility behaviors appeared to have far-reaching consequences on the outcomes measured. Maternal high-risk fertility behaviors are important predictors of morbidity in children younger than 5 years. Preventing high-risk fertility behavior may reduce childhood morbidity and mortality in Bangladesh.


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  • Received : 21 Mar 2019
  • Accepted : 21 Jun 2019
  • Published online : 22 Jul 2019

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