High rates of infant mortality continue to be a cause for concern in developing nations. New findings show that the gaps between births can impact this rate. In developing nations, it has been found that increasing the gap between birds significantly reduces the infant mortality rate. In developed nations, however, there was little effect. The study is reported in Demography.
Why the Gap Between Births Matters
The significance of birth intervals is not a new topic. It has been known for a long time that short birth intervals have negative effects on the health of both mother and child. There are many angles to this which are yet to be zeroed in on. For one, having children in quick successful affects the health of the mother, which in turn affects her ability to provide adequate nutrition to her baby. Another reason is the struggle for adequate resources for the needs of children who are not far apart in age. They have similar nutritional needs and may both be requiring the mother’s milk at the same time. In many countries, the parents may be faced with a huge financial burden they cannot meet. The children may also face the same disease threats at the same time.
The new research zeroed in on the infant mortality rate. The findings are significant. The researchers found that increasing the spacing of births from 1 to 2 years apart in some developing nations can reduce the infant mortality rate by almost half. For developed nations, the same effect was not observed. This is because these nations already have low infant mortality rates. More specifically, in developed nations, access to nutrition, medical care, and other resources is more widespread. This counters the possible effects of shorter gaps between births.
For the study, surveys were conducted with data from 77 countries between the years of 1985 to 2016. Over a million mothers were looked at to get a more accurate perspective.