Determinants of unintended pregnancy: a comparative study of Central and western provinces of Kenya
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Kenya continues to record high rates of unintended pregnancies. The 2008-09 KDHS showed that 43 per cent of all pregnancies were unintended. This was a marginal decrease from the 2003 KDHS that recorded unintended pregnancies at 45%. Unintended pregnancy is one of the greatest contributors of maternal mortality currently estimated at 488 deaths per 100 000 live births. Most of these deaths results from unsafe abortion. In Kenya, the determinants of unintended pregnancies regionally are poorly understood. This study therefore sought to establish determinants of unintended pregnancy in Central and Western provinces. This study used data drawn from the 2008-09 KDHS. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics which included simple percentages and bivariate analysis which involved cross tabulation and logistic regression. The study found that 47% of women in Central province compared with 60.8 % in Western province had unintended pregnancy. Bivariate analysis results indicate that ever use of contraceptive, number of living children, preceding birth interval, maternal age, marital status and wealth index were statistically associated with unintended pregnancy in Central province. In Western province however, number of living children, maternal age, maternal education, marital status, wealth index and type of place of residence were statistically associated with unintended pregnancy. Determinants of unintended pregnancy were different in the two provinces. Logistic analysis results indicate that number of living children, maternal age, wealth index and marital status were significantly associated with unintended pregnancy among women in Central province. It further shows that ever use of contraceptive, number of living children, religion, maternal age, wealth index and marital status had statistically significant effects on unintended pregnancy in Western province. Young women aged 15-24 were significantly more likely than older women to experience unintended pregnancy in both provinces. Similarly, unmarried women and those who had more than three living children showed elevated risk of unintended pregnancy than ever married women. Women from the poor households also had increased likelihood of experiencing unintended pregnancy. Women in Western province were more likely to experience unintended pregnancy than their counterparts in Central province. The results imply the need for effective programmes and strategies to reduce unintended pregnancy. Increasing access to contraceptive services is key to reducing unintended pregnancies. The programmes should target the young women, the unmarried ones, those with three or more living children and those from the poor households in both the provinces.