Abstract

This study investigates the relationship between birth intervals and childhood mortality, using longitudinal data from rural Bangladesh known to be of exceptional accuracy and completeness. Results demonstrate significant but very distinctive effects of the previous and subsequent birth intervals on mortality, with the former concentrated in the neonatal period and the latter during early childhood. The impact of short birth intervals on mortality, however, is substantially less than that found in many previous studies of this issue, particularly for the previous birth interval. The findings are discussed in terms of the potential for family planning programs to contribute to improved child survival in settings such as Bangladesh.

An erratum to this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF03208243.

References

Aaby, P. (
1989
).
Malnutrition Versus Overcrowding in Child Survival
Proceedings of the 21st International Population Conference
(pp.
351
362
).
New Delhi
:
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
Aaby, P., Bukh, J., Lisse, I. M., & Smits, A. J. (
1983
).
Measles Mortality, State of Nutrition, and Family Structure: A Community Study From Guinea-Bissau
.
Journal of Infectious Diseases
,
147
,
693
701
Aaby, P. (
1984
).
Overcrowding and Intensive Exposure as Determinants of Measles Mortality
.
American Journal of Epidemiology
,
120
,
49
63
Alberman, E. (
1977
).
Sociobiological Factors and Birth Weight in Great Britain
. In Reed, D. M., & Stanley, F. J. (Eds.),
The Epidemiology of Prematurity
(pp.
145
156
).
Baltimore, MD
:
Urban & Scharzenberg
Bhalla, J. N., Rohatgi, P., & Bhalla, M. (
1974
).
Relation of Birth Spacing With Birth Weight, Morbidity and Mortality of the Newborn
.
Indian Journal of Pediatrics
,
41
,
299
303
. 10.1007/BF02829321
Bhatia, S., Mosley, W. H., Faruque, A. S. G., & Chakraborty, J. (
1980
).
The Matlab Family Planning-IIealth Services Project
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
11
,
202
212
. 10.2307/1966377
Boerma, J. T., & van Vianen, H. A. W. (
1984
).
Birth Interval, Mortality and Growth of Children in a Rural Area in Kenya
.
Journal of Biosocial Science
,
16
,
475
486
. 10.1017/S0021932000015303
Bongaarts, J. (
1987
).
Does Family Planning Reduce Infant Mortality Rates
.
Population and Development Review
,
13
,
323
334
. 10.2307/1973197
Bongaarts, J. (
1988
).
Docs Family Planning Reduce Infant Mortality?
.
Population and Development Review
,
14
,
188
190
. 10.2307/1972508
Cantrelle, P., & Leridon, H. (
1971
).
Breastfeeding, Mortality in Childhood and Fertility in a Rural Zone of Senegal
.
Population Studies
,
25
,
505
533
. 10.2307/2173082
Chowdhury, M. K., Becker, S., Razzaque, A., Sarder, A. M., Shaikh, K., & Chen, L. C. (
1981
).
Demographic Surveillance System—Matlab: Vital Events and Migration—1978
.
Dhaka, Bang-ladesh
:
International Centre for Diarrhocal Disease Research
Clark, C. A. M. (
1981
).
Demographic and Socioeconomic Correlates of Infant Growth in Guatemala
.
Santa Monica, CA
:
Rand Corp
Cleland, J. G., & Sathar, Z. A. (
1984
).
The Effect of Birth Spacing on Childhood Mortality in Pakistan
.
Population Studies
,
38
,
401
418
. 10.2307/2174131
Contraception and Reproduction: Health Consequences for Women and Children in the Developing World
. (
1989
).
Washington, DC
:
National Academy Press
Das, K., Ganguly, S. S., Saha, R., & Ghosh, B. N. (
1981
).
Interrelationship of Birth Weight With Certain Biological and Socio-economic Factors
.
Indian Journal of Public Health
,
25
,
11
19
DaVanzo, J., Butz, W. P., & Habicht, J.-P. (
1983
).
How Biological and Behavioural Influences on Mortality in Malaysia Vary During the First Year of Life
.
Population Studies
,
37
,
381
402
. 10.2307/2174505
DaVanzo, J., Habicht, J.-P., & Butz, W. P. (
1984
).
Assessing Socioeconomic Correlates of Birthweight in Peninsular Malaysia: Ethnic Differences and Changes Over Time
.
Social Science and Medicine
,
18,
,
387
404
. 10.1016/0277-9536(84)90056-X
Demographic Surveillance System—Matlab: Methods and Procedures, Scientific Report No. 9. (1978). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Cholera Research Laboratory.
De Sweemer, C. (
1984
).
The Influence of Child Spacing on Child Survival
.
Population Studies
,
38
,
47
72
. 10.2307/2174354
Douglas, J. W. B. (
1950
).
Some Factors Associated With Prematurity: The Results of a National Survey
.
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
,
57
,
143
170
Doyle, P., Morley, D., Woodland, M., & Cole, J. (
1978
).
Birth Intervals, Survival and Growth in a Nigerian Village
.
Journal of Biosocial Science
,
10
,
81
94
. 10.1017/S0021932000011470
Fedrick, J., & Adelstein, P. (
1973
).
Influence of Pregnancy Spacing on Outcome of Pregnancy
.
British Medical Journal
,
4
,
753
756
. 10.1136/bmj.4.5895.753
Gubhaju, B. B. (
1985
).
The Effect of Previous Child Death on Infant and Child Mortality in Rural Nepal
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
16
,
231
236
. 10.2307/1967085
Gubhaju, B. B. (
1986
).
Effect of Birth Spacing on Infant and Child Mortality in Rural Nepal
.
Journal of Biosocial Science
,
18
,
435
447
. 10.1017/S002193200001645X
Harrington, J. (
1971
).
The Effect of High Infant and Childhood Mortality on Fertility: The West African Case
.
Concerned Demography
,
3
,
22
33
Hobcraft, J. N., McDonald, J. W., & Rutstein, S. O. (
1985
).
Demographic Determinants of Infant and Early Child Mortality: A Comparative Analysis
.
Population Studies
,
39
,
363
385
. 10.1080/0032472031000141576
Huffman, S. L., & Lamphere, B. B. (1984). “Breastfeeding Performance and Child Survival.” In Child Survival: Strategies for Research, eds. W. H. Mosley & L. C. Chen. Population and Development Review, 10 (suppl.), 93–116.
Jelliffe, D. B. (1966). The Assessment of the Nutritional Status of the Community, Monograph Series No. 53. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Knodel, J. (
1968
).
Infant Mortality and Fertility in Three Bavarian Villages: An Analysis of Family Histories From the 19th Century
.
Population Studies
,
22
,
297
318
. 10.2307/2172997
Koenig, M. A., Phillips, J. F., Simmons, R. S., & Khan, M. A. (
1987
).
Trends in Family Size Preferences and Contraceptive Use in Matlab, Bangladesh
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
18
,
117
127
. 10.2307/1966807
Mata, L. M. (
1978
).
The Children of Santa Maria Cauque
.
Cambridge, MA
:
MIT Press
Palloni, A., & Millman, S. (
1986
).
Effects of Inter-birth Intervals and Breastfeeding on Infant and Early Childhood Mortality
.
Population Studies
,
40
,
215
236
. 10.1080/0032472031000142036
Pebley, A. R., & Elo, I. T. (
1989
).
The Relationship of Birth Spacing and Child Health
Proceedings of the 21st International Population Conference (Vol. I )
(pp.
403
417
).
New Delhi
:
International Union for the Scientific Study of Population
Pebley, A., & Millman, S. (
1986
).
Birthspacing and Child Survival
.
International Family Planning Perspectives
,
12
,
71
74
. 10.2307/2947752
Pebley, A. R., & Stupp, P. W. (
1987
).
Reproductive Patterns and Child Mortality in Guatemala
.
Demography
,
24
,
43
60
. 10.2307/2061507
Potter, J. E. (
1988
).
Birth Spacing and Child Survival: A Cautionary Note Regarding the Evidence From the WFS
.
Population Studies
,
42
,
443
450
. 10.1080/0032472031000143576
Potter, J. E. (
1988
).
Does Family Planning Reduce Infant Mortality?
.
Population and Development Review
,
14
,
179
187
. 10.2307/1972507
Puffer, P. R., & Serrano, C. V. (
1975
).
Birthweight, Maternal Age and Birth Order: Three Important Determinants in Infant Mortality
.
Washington, DC
:
Pan American Health Organization
Retherford, R. D., Choe, M. K., Thapa, S., & Gubhaju, B. B. (
1989
).
To What Extent Does Breastfeeding Explain Birth-Interval Effects on Early Childhood Mortality?
.
Demography
,
26
,
439
450
. 10.2307/2061603
Russell, M. (
1976
).
The Relationship of Family Size and Spacing to the Growth of Preschool Mayan Children in Guatemala
.
American Journal of Public Health
,
66
,
1165
1172
. 10.2105/AJPH.66.12.1165
Rutstein, S. (
1984
).
Infant and Child Mortality: Levels, Trends and Demographic Differentials
.
Voorburg, Netherlands
:
International Statistical Institute
Ruzicka, L. T., & Chowdhury, A. K. M. A. (
1978
).
Demographic Surveillance Systems in Matlab: Vital Events and Migration—1974
.
Dhaka, Bangladesh
:
Cholera Research Laboratory
Ruzicka, L. T. (
1978
).
Demographic Surveillance System—Matlab: Vital Events and Migration—1975
.
Dhaka, Bangladesh
:
Cholera Research Laboratory
Santow, C., & Bracher, M. D. (
1984
).
Child Death and Time to the Next Birth in Central Java
.
Population Studies
,
38
,
241
253
. 10.2307/2174075
Sommerfeit, E., Rutstein, S., Rearson, R., Steinhoff, M., & Way, A. (1989). “The Effect of the Length of the Birth Interval on the Nutritional Status of Preschool Children.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America, Baltimore, MD.
Stoeckel, J., & Chowdhury, A. K. M. A. (
1972
).
Neo-natal and Post-neo-natal Mortality in a Rural Area of Bangladesh
.
Population Studies
,
26
,
113
120
. 10.2307/2172803
Swenson, I. (
1978
).
Early Childhood Survivorship Related to the Subsequent Interpregnancy Interval and Outcome of the Subsequent Pregnancy
.
Tropical Pediatrics and Environmental Child Health
,
24
,
103
106
Swenson, I. (
1981
).
Relationships Between Pregnancy Spacing, Sex of Infants, Maternal Age, and Birth Order, and Neonatal and Post-neonatal Mortality in Bangladesh
.
Social Biology
,
28
,
299
307
Trussell, J. (
1988
).
Does Familv Planning Reduce Infant Mortality? An Exchange
.
Population and Development Review
,
14
,
171
178
. 10.2307/1972506
Winikoff, B. (
1980
).
Weaning: Nutrition, Morbidity, and Mortality Consequences
. In Preston, S. H. (Ed.),
Biological and Social Aspects of Mortality and the Length of Life
(pp.
113
149
).
Liege
:
Ordina Editions
Winikoff, B. (
1983
).
The Effects of Birth Spacing on Child and Maternal Health
.
Studies in Family Planning
,
14
,
231
245
. 10.2307/1965748
Wolfers, D., & Scrimshaw, S. (
1975
).
Child Survival and Intervals Between Pregnancies in Guayaquil, Ecuador
.
Population Studies
,
29
,
479
496
. 10.2307/2173940
Wray, J. D., & Aguirre, A. (
1969
).
Protein-Calorie Malnutrition in Candelaria, Colombia. I: Prevalence—Social and Demographic Causal Factors
.
Journal of Tropical Pediatrics
,
15
,
76
98
Wyon, J. B., & Gordon, J. E. (
1962
).
A Long-Term Prospective-Type Field Study of Population Dynamics in the Punjab, India
. In Kiser, C. V. (Ed.),
Research in Family Planning
(pp.
17
32
).
Princeton, NJ
:
Princeton University Press
Yerulshalmy, J. M. (
1945
).
On the Interval Between Successive Births and Its Effect on Survival of Infant. 1: An Indirect Method of Study
.
Human Biology
,
17
,
65
106