Adolescents’ Knowledge of the Fertile Period, Contraceptive Use and Childbearing

Stephen M. Kisambira, United Nations Population Division

The base population for calculating the indicators of sexual and reproductive health of adolescents is often those aged 15-19. Yet, the needs and challenges of adolescents aged 15-17 are different from those aged 18-19. Data are drawn from the DHS to disaggregate adolescent women into age groups 15-17 and 18-19 and assess the association between their knowledge of the fertile period, contraceptive use and childbearing in Africa. Contraceptive use was associated with childbearing among women aged 18-19, with no clear pattern among those aged 15-17. Knowledge of the fertile period was associated with contraceptive use among sexually initiated adolescents. Contraceptive use was higher among adolescents aged 18-19 who ever had a pregnancy than among those sexually initiated who never had a pregnancy. Knowledge about the fertile period suggest supplementary effects to using contraception. While emphasis is often on the need to prevent the first pregnancy, preventing the second pregnancy might be as important than previously thought.

See paper.

  Presented in Session 20. Adolescent Reproductive Health and Rights