Abstract 11.2.12



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Age at First Birth and Fertility in Calabar, South Eastern Nigeria


C.U. Iklaki, J.E. Ekabua, S.E. Abeshi, B.O. Ago and E.I. Ekanem

Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology University of Calabar, Calabar. Nigeria


Abstract: The first visible outcome of the fertility process is the birth of the first child. The timing of this event measured by the motherís age has a strong effect on both individual and aggregate level of fertility, as well as broader implications for womenís role and social changes in general. It also has a substantial influence on subsequent birth spacing as well as child bearing patterns of women. To examine the age at which women in Calabar, Cross River State achieve their first birth and how this influences their fertility.The stratified sampling method was used to get a representative sample for the study. The population studied was mothers who are still bearing children or who have completed the process of child bearing in Calabar municipality. Structured questionnaires were administered on selected respondents by research students from the University of Calabar who were trained on the research objectives.  Two hundred and fifty questionnaires were distributed to different wards by these trained researchers.  These were then analyzed statistically using appropriate tables, simple percentages and chi square(x2) test of independence. The null hypothesis was then tested using statistical techniques. The result shows that majority of our women, 31.1% had their first births between the ages of 25 and 29 years. About 4% of the respondents had their first births below the age of 20 years.  Those that had their first births after 30 years are more educated and majority belonged to the high socio economic group in the society. Most of the respondents (40.3%) also had their first birth after obtaining the general certificate of education (GCE). When the relationship between the level of education and the age at first birth as well as the relationship between the womanís age at first birth and fertility were tested separately using the NULL hypothesis, it was discovered that the calculated X2c is greater than the critical value X20.05 (p>o.o5). The null hypothesis was therefore rejected. The age at first birth is a major determinant of future fertility and socio demographic status of women in Calabar, Nigeria.


Keywords: First birth, Fertility, Social status.



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