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BMJ. Nov 2, 1996; 313(7065): 1113–1116.
PMCID: PMC2352449

Child spacing and two child policy in practice in rural Vietnam: cross sectional survey.


OBJECTIVE: To explore the reproductive pattern of women in rural Vietnam in relation to the existing family planning policies and laws. DESIGN: Cross sectional survey with question-naires on reproductive history. SETTING: Tien Hai, a district in Red River Delta area, where the population density is one of the highest in Vietnam. SUBJECTS: 1132 women who had at least one child under 5 years of age in April 1992. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Birth spacing and probability of having a third child. RESULTS: The mean age at first birth was 22.2 years. The average spacing between the first and the second child was 2.6 years. Mothers with a lower educational level, farmers, and women belonging to the Catholic religion had shorter spacing between the first and second child and also a higher probability of having a third child. In addition, women who had no sons or who had lost a previous child were more likely to have a third child. CONCLUSION: Most families do not adhere to the official family planning policy, which was introduced in 1988, stipulating that each couple should have a maximum of two children with 3-5 years' spacing in between. More consideration should be given to family planning needs and perceptions of the population, supporting the woman to be in control of her fertility. This may imply improved contraceptive services and better consideration of sex issues and cultural differences as well as improved social support for elderly people.

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Selected References

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  • Johansson A, Hoa HT, Tuyet LT, Bich MH, Höjer B. Family planning in Vietnam--women's experiences and dilemma: a community study from the Red River Delta. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1996 Mar;17(1):59–67. [PubMed]
  • Nguyen L, Nguyen MT, Swenson I, Pham BS. Selected determinants of fertility in Vietnam: age at marriage, marriage to first birth interval and age at first birth. J Biosoc Sci. 1993 Jul;25(3):303–310. [PubMed]
  • Martin EC. A study of the effect of birth interval on the development of 9-year-old schoolchildren in Singapore. J Trop Pediatr Environ Child Health. 1979 Apr-Jun;25(2-3):46–76. [PubMed]
  • Toan NV, Hoa HT, Trong PV, Höjer B, Persson LA, Sundström K. Utilisation of reproductive health services in rural Vietnam; are there equal opportunities to plan and protect pregnancies? J Epidemiol Community Health. 1996 Aug;50(4):451–455. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nguyen MT, Swenson IE, Vu DM, Phan T. Contraceptive use in Vietnam: the effect of individual and community characteristics. Contraception. 1992 May;45(5):409–427. [PubMed]

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