Reproductive Health Care Utilization among Young Mothers in Bangladesh: Does Autonomy Matter?

Published:October 04, 2011DOI:



      To examine the linkage between the possible influences of the extent of autonomy on young mothers use of reproductive health care services.


      This paper used data from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey. The analyses were based on responses of 1,778 currently married women aged 15 to 24 years, living with at least one 0- to 35-month-old child. Utilization of antenatal health services (ANC) services by amount and type of provider, and utilization of delivery assistance according to provider type were used as proxy outcome variables of reproductive health care utilization. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression methods were employed in the analysis.


      Approximately one third (31%) of the currently married young women in Bangladesh had a higher level of overall decision-making autonomy. Only 24.0% of the sampled women received sufficient ANC; 54% and 18% received ANC and assisted deliveries from a medically trained provider. respectively. In adjusted models, young women who had a higher level of overall autonomy were more likely to receive sufficient ANC (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–2.23) and receiving ANC from medically trained provider (AOR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.42–2.45). Women who had medium overall autonomy were 1.40 times more likely (95% CI, 1.03–1.98) to have deliveries assisted by a medically trained provider than women who had low autonomy.


      Association between young mother’s autonomy and reproductive health care utilization suggest that maternal autonomy needs to be considered as an important sociocultural determinant for the higher utilization of reproductive health care services for young mothers in Bangladesh.
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      Syed Emdadul Haque, MSc, MHSc, is a PhD candidate at the Department of Community and Global Health, Graduate School of Medicine, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


      Mosiur Rahman MSc, MHSc, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Science and Human Resource Development, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh.


      Md. Golam Mostofa is Associate Professor, Department of Population Science and Human Resource Development, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh.


      Md. Sarwar Zahan is a Senior Educational Professional at the Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.