Optimal birth spacing refers to resting period between pregnancies that allows the mother time to recuperate from pregnancy, labor and lactation. Long time period between births allows the next pregnancy and birth to be at full gestation and growth for years. This study aimed to assess practice of child spacing and its associated factors among women of child bearing age in Ilubabor Zone of Oromia National Regional State, South West Ethiopia, from January to June 2016. A community based cross sectional quantitative study design was used. A stratified multistage sampling procedure and face to face interview with Afan Oromo and Amharic version was done by administering questionnaire on 826 women of child bearing age. Women from rural areas were about 3 times more likely to have short birth interval than their urban counterparts [AOR =3.39 (95% CI: 1.13, 4.10)]. Respondents with no formal education were 2.56 times more likely to practice short birth interval than those with higher education [AOR = 2.56, 95% CI (1.60, 3.42)]. As compared to mothers whose husbands were employee, women whose husbands were farmers were more likely to have short birth interval [AOR = 3.50, 95% CI (1.29, 4.42)]. Mothers who breast fed their child for less than 12 months were 5 times more likely to practice short birth interval than those who breast fed for 24 months or more [AOR = 5.36, 95% CI ((3.43,6.34)]. Women who were not using contraceptives were 4.42 times more likely to give birth within short period of time than contraceptive users [AOR = 4.12 (95% CI: 2.71, 5.82)]. Women with fourth wealth quartile were 3.18 times more likely to have short birth interval than those with the lowest wealth quartile [AOR = 3.18(95% CI: 1.75, 4.56)]. Birth interval was short in this study. Therefore, greater attention should be given to contraceptive use and paternal education in addition to infant and child mortality prevention.
Key words: Birth spacing, knowledge, contraceptive, women.
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