The transition to motherhood is a highly challenging phase in a woman's life as she prepares, physically and emotionally, for the new role of becoming a mother. It does not only indicate a biological change in a woman, but also determine future roles and responsibilities a woman is likely to face after giving birth to their first child. Early age at first birth can have serious consequences such as lower levels of socio-economic and educational empowerment, poor shelter under which children are raised, reduced chances to opportunities available to them. In Namibia few studies have focused on age at first birth among women. The objective of this study was to investigate factors associated with the transition to motherhood among women in Namibia.
Data from the 2013 Namibian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) was used. Univariate statistical analysis included frequency distributions and descriptive statistics. For multivariate analysis, Kaplan Meir Curves and the Cox Proportional hazards model were used to analyze survival time and to investigate the relationship between age at first birth and covariates. A total of 6453 women were analyzed.
Cox regression results indicated an increase in risk in early first birth among women living in Kavango region (HR=1.17, p=0.03,) and Khomas region (HR=1.18, p=0.03,) compared to their counterparts in the Otjozondjupa region. Women in the middle wealth quintile (HR=1.09, p=0.03) were more likely to have early first births compared to those in the rich wealth quintile. Herero speaking women (HR=0.75, p=0.02) and Kwangali (HR=0.73, p=0.01,) were significantly less likely to have early first birth compared the San speaking women.
The findings of this study indicated that transition to motherhood in Namibia is associated with the region, wealth index and cultural factors. These factors should be taken into consideration by our government and private sector when it come formulation of new strategies and policies to reduce teenage pregnancy in Namibia.