Does Contraceptive Use Reduce Neonatal and Infant Mortality? Findings from a Multi-Country Analysis

Amy Tsui, Johns Hopkins University
Andreea A. Creanga, Johns Hopkins University

This study addresses the effectiveness of contraceptive use in reducing infant mortality, from the early neonatal to neonatal through post-neonatal stages. Despite widespread belief that contraceptive use lengthens birth intervals and reduces neonatal and infant mortality, the research evidence is surprisingly thin. We conduct a multi-country empirical analysis of contraceptive calendar data collected in 19 Demographic and Health Surveys. We assess the effect of contraceptive use on neonatal and infant survival in lengthening closed- and open-birth intervals. One month of exposure to contraception and of overlapping contraception and breastfeeding can lead to a significant reduction in the hazard of death during infancy (HR=0.93 and HR=0.94, respectively). This implies twelve months of contraception can reduce infant mortality risk by 46% and by 68% with twelve months of both contraception and breastfeeding. This information is important for evidence-based advocacy to expand family planning care in low-resource settings.

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Presented in Session 112: Contraception