Contracept Reprod Med. 2022 Aug 2;7(1):14. doi: 10.1186/s40834-022-00181-0.
BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence from high income countries showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has had negative effects on population and reproductive health behaviour. This study provides a sub-Saharan Africa perspective by documenting the social consequences of COVID-19 and its relationship to fertility preference stability and modern contraceptive use in Nigeria.
METHOD: We analysed panel data collected by Performance Monitoring for Action in Nigeria. Baseline and Follow-up surveys were conducted before the COVID-19 outbreak (November 2019-February 2020) and during the lockdown respectively (May-July 2020). Analysis was restricted to married non-pregnant women during follow-up (n = 774). Descriptive statistics and generalized linear models were employed to explore the relationship between selected social consequences of COVID-19 and fertility preferences stability (between baseline and follow-up) as well as modern contraceptives use.
RESULTS: Reported social consequences of the pandemic lockdown include total loss of household income (31.3%), food insecurity (16.5%), and greater economic reliance on partner (43.0%). Sixty-eight women (8.8%) changed their minds about pregnancy and this was associated with age groups, higher wealth quintile (AOR = 0.38, CI: 0.15-0.97) and household food insecurity (AOR = 2.72, CI: 1.23-5.99). Fertility preference was inconsistent among 26.1%. Women aged 30-34 years (AOR = 4.46, CI:1.29-15.39) were more likely of inconsistent fertility preference compared to 15-24 years. The likelihood was also higher among women with three children compared to those with only one child (AOR = 3.88, CI: 1.36-11.08). During follow-up survey, 59.4% reported they would feel unhappy if pregnant. This was more common among women with tertiary education (AOR = 2.99, CI: 1.41-6.33). The odds increased with parity. The prevalence of modern contraceptive use was 32.8%. Women aged 45-49 years (AOR = 0.24, CI: 0.10-0.56) were less likely to use modern contraceptives than those aged 15-24 years. In contrast, the odds of contraceptive use were significantly higher among those with three (AOR = 1.82, CI: 1.03-3.20), four (AOR = 2.45, CI: 1.36-4.39) and at least five (AOR = 2.89, CI: 1.25-6.74) children. Unhappy disposition towards pregnancy (AOR = 2.48, CI: 1.724-3.58) was also a significant predictor of modern contraceptive use.
CONCLUSION: Some social consequences of COVID-19 affected pregnancy intention and stability of fertility preference but showed no independent association with modern contraceptive use.