Young Adult Pregnancy and Pregnancy Outcomes in Southern Malawi

Sara E. Yeatman, University of Colorado at Denver
Jenny Trinitapoli, Pennsylvania State University
Hazel Namadingo, Tsogolo la Thanzi

Despite the considerable attention demographers give to sexual behavior and fertility, pregnancy itself is an often-overlooked demographic state. Nonetheless, pregnancy experiences, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are important for understanding a variety of health outcomes, such as maternal mortality, unsafe abortion, fertility timing, and susceptibility to HIV infection. In the current study, we focus on the prevalence and predictors of pregnancy, miscarriage and abortion among young Malawian women. Our data come from Tsogolo la Thanzi, a new longitudinal study of reproduction in a peri-urban community of southern Malawi. We use two waves of survey data from 1500 young women aged 15-24 that includes two direct measures of pregnancy (a detailed pregnancy history and a biomarker for current pregnancy) and one indirect measure (a report of best friends’ pregnancy or abortion). We examine the context and predictors of pregnancy and miscarriage/abortion, including fertility desires and partnership characteristics at the previous wave.

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Presented in Session 58: Sexual Behaviors, Reproductive Health and Fertility among Adolescents and Young Adults