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Table 1 Characteristics of included studies

From: Factors associated with short birth interval in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review

First author and year of publicationCountrySample sizeUnit of analysisAge range/mean (years)Aim of the study
Studies reporting OR/RR
 Abdullah 2018aBangladesh4504Women15 to 35+“examines the feasibility of integrating a post-partum family planning intervention package within a community-based maternal and newborn health intervention package, and evaluates the impact of integration on reduction of rates of short birth intervals and preterm births.”
 Hailu 2016bEthiopia636WomenMean 31 (SD ± 5.16)“assess determinants of interbirth interval among child-bearing age women who have at least two consecutive live births in Arba Minch ZuriaWoreda, SNNP, Ethiopia, 2014.”
 Chirwa 2014cDemocratic Republic of Congo7172Women15 to 49“investigate the proportion of short birth intervals at the provincial level among young women in the DRC.”
 de Jonge 2014cBangladesh5571BirthsNR“identify predictors of short birth interval and determine consequences of short intervals on pregnancy outcomes.”
 Begna 2013bEthiopia636Women20 to 49“assess the determinants of inter birth interval among women’s of childbearing age in Yaballo Woreda, Borena zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia.”
 Dim 2013cNigeria420Women20 to 44“determined the duration of inter-birth interval and the determinants of short inter-birth interval in Enugu, Nigeria.”
 Muganyizi 2013cTanzania427Women15 to 45mean 29.2(SD ± 5.1)“explored if the use of modern family planning promotes healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy among women seeking antenatal services.”
 Exavery 2012dTanzania8980Women16 to 49“(1) describe the median level of inter-birth interval (in months), (2) estimate proportions of inter-birth intervals below the recommended minimum inter-birth interval by characteristics of mother and child, and (3) identify factors associated with non-adherence to the recommended minimum inter-birth interval among multiparous women of childbearing age in Rufiji district of Tanzania.”
 Fayehun 2011cNigeria22,752Births15 to 49“examine the effects of demographic, socioeconomic and socio-cultural factors on birth spacing among Nigerian ethnic groups.”
 Ismail 2008cMalaysia355WomenMean 33.5 (SD ± 5.0)“determine the prevalence and associated factors for short birth spacing among Malay women who delivered at Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kota Bharu, Kelantan.”
 Todd 2008cAfghanistan4452WomenMean 25 (SD ± 5.7)“assess prevalence and correlates of prior contraceptive use among hospitalized obstetric patients in Kabul, Afghanistan.”
 Ngianga-Bakwin 2005cNine countries in Africae50,596Birth intervalsNR“investigate associations between use of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate and other reversible contraception and short birth intervals in sub-Saharan Africa.”
 Sirivong 2003cLaos298Women15 to 49“find out whether or not the training of traditional birth attendants had an impact on reproductive health.”
 Atkin 1992dMexico137Women (adolescents)< 18“identifies and explores selected background, pregnancy, and postpartum predictors of short-interval repeat pregnancy among urban Mexican adolescents who were single when they conceived their first pregnancy.”
 Achadi 1991cIndonesia6826Birth intervalsNR“examine the relative impact of breastfeeding and family planning use on birth spacing patterns in two major regions of Indonesia.”
 Franca-Junior 1985cBrazil345ChildrenNR“investigate the interpregnancy interval and its relationship with breastfeeding”(translated from Portuguese).
Studies reporting HR
 Blackwell 2015dBolivia986WomenNR“investigated associations between intestinal helminths and fertility in women.”
 Mattison 2015cTanzania315Children2 to 7mean 4.5 (SD ± 1.6)“ask whether breastfeeding for more than 2 years is associated with discernible health and well-being benefits to children.”
 Erfani 2014cIran9071Women15 to 49“study the determinants of change in the timing of births.”
 Fallahzadeh 2013cIran400Women15 to 49“identify the duration and determinants of inter birth intervals among women of reproductive age in the city of Yazd.”
 Singh 2012cIndia7624WomenNR“see the effect of breastfeeding as a time-varying and time-dependent factor on birth spacing in order to provide input to policy planners.”
 Dommaraju 2008cIndia64,943Women15 to 49“investigates the complex relationship between marriage age and marital fertility by examining the initiation of childbearing and the transition to higher order births by marriage cohorts in India.”
 Hossain 2007dBangladesh31,324Birth intervalsMean 21.8“examine the relationship between child mortality and subsequent fertility.”
 Ly 2006baSenegal134Children and their moms3.5 months old babies“assess the effects of early, short-term food supplementation of infants (from 4 to 7 months of age) on maternal weight change, duration of breastfeeding and birth interval in a rural West African community.”
 Gyimah 2005cGhana10,975Women15 to 49“[examines] the relative socio-economic vis-a-vis socio-cultural factors on the timing of births.”
 Upadhyay 2005cPhilippines1123Women26 to 49mean 37“look at whether women’s status and autonomy affect birth-to-conception intervals.”
 Youssef 2005cJordan4349Birth intervals15–49mean 32.2(SD ± 7.1)“identify the duration and determinants of interbirth intervals among women of reproductive age in one region of Jordan.”
 van Eijk 2004cKenya2218Women14 to 30+“studied factors associated with short pregnancy interval (PI) and the effect of PI on birthweight and haemoglobin.”
 Hoa 1996cVietnam1132WomenNR“explore the reproductive pattern of women in rural Vietnam in relation to the existing family planning policies and laws.”
 Nair 1996cIndia1829Women< 35“examine changes in the timing of birth and the important factors determining birth intervals.”
 Adewuyi 1990cNigeria8818WomenNR“examine regional variations in birth interval length as reported in the Nigerian Fertility Survey and the pattern in the variation of birth interval length at different parities. [...] examination of the correlates of birth interval length in the country.”
 Lehrer 1984cMalaysia1200Women<  50“test the hypothesis that the impact of child mortality on spacing varies across parities.”
Mixed-methods studies
 Dehne 2003Burkina Faso350Community members15–49“document current trends in knowledge of, attitudes towards, and relating to traditional and modern child-spacing methods in a remote area in northern Burkina Faso.”
Qualitative studies
 De Vera 2007Philippines7Couples (husbands and wives)20 to 47“describe perceptions of birth spacing among rural Filipino husbands and wives.”
 Social & Rural Research Institute 2003India34Focus groups17 to 30“understand knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and practices with respect to birth spacing; determine the factors that motivate birth spacing among those who practice spacing; identify barriers to adoption of spacing methods; understanding knowledge, attitudes and practices of health personnel and institutional support towards birth-spacing.”
 Dean 1994Kenya153 participantsCommunity groupsNR“examine the beliefs held and concepts behind childbearing practices in the rural communities of West Pokot District in Kenya and the concrete changes in these practices that have occurred.”
 Chad Ministry of Public Health 1992Chad16 focus groups with 160 men and womenFocus groups18 to 40“1. Learn how Chadian men and women feel about the concept of family wellbeing; 2. Explore men and women’s understanding of modern family planning methods and family well-being, including rumors and misconceptions; 3. Examine the influence of religion on the use of family planning among Chadian men and women; 4. Examine the image Chadian women and men have of a family planning user.”
 Kiluvia 1991Tanzania50Focus groups15 to 35+“identify persuasive, educational, and appealing family planning messages for radio and print materials. […] To learn why Tanzanian couples choose to space their births.”
 Van de Walle 1986Burkina Faso80WomenNR“revisited 80 women, for a longer description of their postpartum experiences.”
 Millard 1984Mexico285Women> 15“shows how cultural systems, in addition to biological constraints, shape lactation patterns and endow breastfeeding with social significance.”
 Lovel 1983Zimbawe204WomenNR“women with at least one child under five were asked about reasons for birth spacing in their parents’ generation.”
 Adeokun 1982NigeriaNRFamiliesNR“marital sexual relationships (MSR) and the timing of the next child among the Ekiti and Ikale sub-groups of the Yoruba.”
 Adeokun 1981Nigeria24FamiliesNR“investigate the patterns of maternal and child care, the parents’ perception of the timing of various milestones in the development of their children, and to seek the links between marital sexuality, child development and the timing of a next child (other than the first).”
  1. NR not reported
  2. aExperimental
  3. bCase-control
  4. cCross-sectional
  5. dCohort/longitudinal
  6. eBurkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Tanzania, Zambia