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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - BMC pregnancy and childbirth
Title Effect of pregnancy intention, postnatal depressive symptoms and social support on early childhood stunting: findings from India
Author(s)
Volume 16
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-016-0909-9
Abstract
Background
According to United Nation Children’s Fund, it has been estimated that worldwide about 165 million children were stunted in 2012 and India alone accounts for 38 % of global burden of stunting. This study aims to examine the effect of pregnancy intention and maternal postnatal depressive symptoms on early childhood stunting in India. We hypothesized that effect of pregnancy intention and postnatal depressive symptoms were mediated by social support.

Methods
We used data from the first wave of Young Lives Study India. Multivariate logistic regression models (using generalized estimation equation) were used to examine the effect of pregnancy intention and postnatal depressive symptoms on early childhood stunting among children aged 5–21 months. The analysis included 1833 children (out of 2011 sample children) that had complete information on pregnancy intention, maternal depression and other variables.

Results
Bivariate results indicate that a higher percent of children born after unintended pregnancy (40 %) were stunted than children of intended pregnancy (26 %). Likewise, the proportion of stunted children was also higher among women with high postnatal depressive symptoms (35 %) than the low level of depression (24 %). Results of multivariate logistic regression model indicate that children born after unintended pregnancy were significantly more likely to be stunted than children born after intended pregnancy (AOR: 1.76, CI: 1.25, 2.48). Similarly, early childhood stunting was also associated with maternal postnatal depressive symptoms (AOR: 1.53, CI: 1.21, 1.92). Moreover, the effect of pregnancy intention and postnatal depressive symptoms on early childhood stunting were not mediated by social support.

Conclusions
The findings of this study provide conclusive evidence regarding consequences of pregnancy intention and postnatal depressive symptoms on early childhood stunting in India. Therefore, there is a need to identify the women with unintended pregnancy and incorporate the promotion of mental health into their national reproductive and child health programme.

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