The role of delayed childbearing in the prevention of obstetric fistulas

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2007 Nov;99 Suppl 1:S98-107. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2007.06.024. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Objective: To examine the role of delayed childbearing in the prevention of obstetric fistulas (OFs).

Methods: Data on 4798 deliveries in Niger (1995-1998), 3552 in Nigeria (1996-1999), and 6789 in Tanzania (1991-1996) were analyzed with logistic regression models.

Results: Young maternal age and primiparous status were identified as correlates of prolonged/obstructed labor. The annual incidence of OFs in Nigeria was found to be 2.11 per 1000 births, with 9817 cases developing each year, 28% in women and girls younger than 20 years. The predicted proportion of women experiencing prolonged/obstructed labor would be reduced by 11.2% in Niger, 11.4% in Nigeria, and 13.1% in Tanzania if the risks associated with young maternal age at first delivery and primiparity were eliminated.

Conclusions: Community programs to educate young, newly married women about delaying childbearing until they reach physical maturity should be implemented in countries with a high incidence of OFs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Class
  • Tanzania
  • Time Factors
  • Vaginal Fistula / prevention & control*