Factors associated with reproductive behavior of low income mothers in Kiandutu Slum in Thika District, Kenya.
Kamau, Jane Njeri
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The low income mothers are characterized by poverty and yet they seem not to have the desire to limit the number of children they have, hence there was need for a research concerning aspects of their reproductive behavior where crucial gaps still seem to exist. Thus the purpose of this study was to investigate factors associated with reproductive behavior of low mcome mothers in Kiandutu slum in Thika District, Kenya. The study was based on the safe motherhood theoretical framework, which outlines the linkages between the contextual, intermediate, and proximate causes that determine the prenatal health status of pregnant mothers. A conceptual framework was used which outlined the contextual, intermediate and proximate causes that determine the reproductive behavior of low inco,me mothers. The study employed a descriptive survey research design and used a sample size of 120 respondents (mothers) to provide the required data through the use of interview schedule guides. The data was analyzed using frequency tables, percentages, means, cross-tabulation chi-square, and one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Qualitative data involved coding of the information and I then identifying variables that would depict general concepts and themes. The results of the study revealed that some of the mother's demographic characteristics, that is, the level of education, occupation, income levels and religion affiliation had an influence on the reproductive behavior of low income mothers. For instance majority of respondents with secondary level of education (73.3%) had a lower reproductive behavior than those with primary education (66.7%). An examination of knowledge of contraceptives revealed a high index of 95% and was found to have a significant relationship with marital status and income levels. But however statistical analysis revealed that knowledge of contraceptives had no influence on reproductive behavior of low income mothers. Out of the 95% who knew about contraceptives 77.5% of them were found to use them. Chi square test results revealed that use of contraceptives had a significant relationship with age of the respondent, income levels and occupation. Further analysis revealed that use of contraceptives had no influence on reproductive behavior of low income mothers. On attitude towards contraceptives; the findings showed that it had a significant relationship with all the respondents' demographic factors under study. Further analysis revealed that attitude towards contraceptives was found to influence reproductive behavior of low income mothers. Mother's decision making patterns on issues related to reproduction had no influence on reproductive behavior of low income mothers. The study also revealed that although the women were knowledgeable on issues dealing with contraceptives, this was greatly undermined by the fact that men made decisions on matters dealing with when to have sexual intercourse and the number of children to have. Lastly the researcher made several recommendations all geared towards enhancing the reproductive behavior of low income mothers. It is hoped that this information will enable the low income mothers to delay age at first birth, age at first marriage and also space and limit births so that they can bring up well-developed children.