The validity of birth and pregnancy histories in rural Bangladesh

Donna Espeut, Stan Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Maternity histories provide a means of estimating fertility and mortality from surveys. Methods: The present analysis compares two types of maternity histories-birth histories and pregnancy histories-in three respects: (1) completeness of live birth and infant death reporting; (2) accuracy of the time placement of live births and infant deaths; and (3) the degree to which reported versus actual total fertility measures differ. The analysis covers a 15-year time span and is based on two data sources from Matlab, Bangladesh: The 1994 Matlab Demographic and Health Survey and, as gold standard, the vital events data from Matlab's Demographic Surveillance System. Results: Both histories are near perfect in live-birth completeness; however, pregnancy histories do better in the completeness and time accuracy of deaths during the first year of life. Conclusions: Birth or pregnancy histories can be used for fertility estimation, but pregnancy histories are advised for estimating infant mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 28 2015


  • Bangladesh
  • Birth histories
  • Displacement
  • Fertility estimation
  • Maternity history
  • Mortality estimation
  • Omission
  • Pregnancy histories
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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