Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Factors Associated with Reproductive Behavior of Low Income Mothers in Kiandutu Slum in Thika Municipality, Kenya

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Factors Associated with Reproductive Behavior of Low Income Mothers in Kiandutu Slum in Thika Municipality, Kenya

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate maternal factors associated with reproductive behavior of low income mothers in Kiandutu slum in Thika Municipality, Kenya. The family resource management model and the safe motherhood theoretical framework guided the study. A survey of 120 randomly selected mothers was conducted using simple random sampling. Data was collected using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Results showed that the level of education (p=0.000), occupation (p=0.037), income levels (p=0.040), religious affiliation (p=0.007) and attitude towards contraception (p=0.000) had significant relationship with mothers' reproductive behavior. However, age, marital status, ethnicity contraceptive knowledge and use were not significantly related to reproductive behavior. Implications for fertility, family size, family planning, and involvement of males in reproductive health are included in the discussion. The study recommends that reproductive and sexual health education be made available to women and girls of childbearing age. This will help to empower them to take control of their own fertility.

Keywords: reproductive behavior, fertility, family size, family planning

1. Introduction

The purpose of this study was to investigate maternal factors associated with reproductive behavior of low income mothers in Kiandutu slum of Thika Municipality. The study was based on Deacon and Firebaugh (1988) family resource management model and the safe motherhood model by McCarthy and Main (1994). In this research, the focus was on the relationship between maternal inputs or contextual determinants and throughputs or intermediate determinants, and the outputs of reproductive behavior. Contextual determinants were defined as maternal factors such as age, education, occupation, income, cultural and religious beliefs which influence directly or indirectly their reproductive behavior. Intermediate determinants were throughputs or transformation factors such as maternal decision making patterns, knowledge, attitudes and use of contraceptives for the management of fertility. Proximate determinants were the outputs which were characterized by fertility and reproductive behavior.

1.1 Objectives

The study was guided by the following objectives:

1. To analyse the socio-demographic characteristics of low income mothers.

2. To assess knowledge, attitude and use of contraceptives of low income mothers.

3. To investigate decision making patterns on contraceptives by low income mothers.

1.2 Null Hypotheses

The study sought to test the following hypotheses:

1. There was no relationship between maternal socio-demographic characteristics and reproductive behavior.

2. There was no relationship between maternal knowledge, attitude and use of contraceptives and reproductive behavior.

3. There was no relationship between maternal decision making power and reproductive behavior.

2. Review of Related Literature

Human fertility is a complex process responsible for the maintenance of human society (Ngige & Wilson, 2006). African people have long valued fertility and therefore many couples have large families. In the past, many African families measured their riches by the number of healthy children they had. According to Centre for Minority Rights and Development [CEMIRIDE] (2007), the Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rate of contraceptive use in the world, making it to have the highest unmet need for contraceptives. This is contributed by difficulties in getting contraceptives supplies, lack of adequate family planning clinics, low social economic levels and the high value many cultures place on large family size.

This high fertility and difficulties in contraceptive supplies impacts greatly on low income mothers who are characterized by limited education and training skills, chronic low incomes, recurring health problems and they are either unemployed, underemployed or have unreliable employment which provides low incomes (Ngige & Wilson, 2006). …

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