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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 1991 → Seasonal hunger, birth timing, and pregnancy outcome in a rural region of the Sahel

University of Michigan (1991)

Seasonal hunger, birth timing, and pregnancy outcome in a rural region of the Sahel

Sadio, Abdoulaye

Titre : Seasonal hunger, birth timing, and pregnancy outcome in a rural region of the Sahel

Auteur : Sadio, Abdoulaye

Université de soutenance  : University of Michigan.

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1991

Résumé
This study examines a sample of 4,987 births to investigate, through regression, logit, and hazard models, the relationships between the time of the year during which a birth takes place, birth weight, and early infant mortality in a rural region of the savanna belt of West Africa, the Sahel. Birth weight is found to vary seasonally. It peaks in February through April. Its lowest value is recorded from August through October. This seasonal pattern of birth weight parallels the seasonal pattern of food shortage which takes place during the rainy season, from June to October in the Sahel. Pregnancies that fall in the "hungry months" during their last trimester are at higher risk of low birth weight. Neonatal mortality is also seasonal, with the highest rates recorded during the rainy and hungry season. This seasonal pattern of neonatal mortality is in part explained by the seasonal pattern of birth weight. In addition to affecting birth weight and neonatal mortality, the timing of birth determines the age at which a birth cohort enters the wet season. All birth cohorts experience high risk of mortality during the wet season, due to increased infections and reduced maternal care, as women are busy with heavy and intense farm work. As in most societies, births are seasonal in this region. Fertility peaks towards the end of the hungry season ; its trough takes place at the end of the dry season. This birth seasonal pattern is such that a disproportionate number of pregnancies fall in the hungry period during their last trimester, which increases the risk of an adverse outcome. The study then examines how changes in the seasonal pattern of births affect the incidence of low birth weight and infant mortality. It finds that there is some gain in birth weight and infant survival if the seasonal pattern of births characteristic of the Sahel can be changed. The deleterious effect of the timing of birth can serve as a rationale for pregnancy planning. This health rationale can then be used to progressively introduce a family planning program aimed at fertility reduction in this rural population

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