Clever men make for healthy babies, smart women - not so much

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Clever men make for healthy babies, smart women - not so much

Cape Town bureau chief

If they want care and respect as a sexual partner and a child-bearer, women in developing countries should choose an educated man.A University of Cape Town demographer, Vissého Adjiwanou, has found that the more schooling a man has, the more likely his partner is to look after her body before and after she gets pregnant.
This means she is more likely to use contraception, have prenatal examinations and have her child delivered by a health professional, Adjiwanou said in the journal Social Science & Medicine.“My hypothesis ... was that many men play an important role in their partner’s reproductive and maternal health,” said Adjiwanou, who works at UCT’s Centre for Actuarial Research.“What surprised me was that to have a major effect, the men must actually be better educated — high school or higher.”Basing his findings on an analysis of surveys among couples in 32 sub-Saharan countries and five in Asia, Adjiwanou said it mattered less if a woman was well-educated. Even if she had only been to primary school she would take care of her body before and during pregnancy.
“Overall, women whose partners had an above-secondary level of education were 32% more likely to use modern contraceptives, 43% more likely to attend at least four antenatal care visits and 55% more likely to deliver their most recent baby with a health professional, compared to women whose partner had no education,” said Adjiwanou.If men added just a year to their schooling, even partners with little schooling would be more likely to take better care of themselves.
“This study ... provides strong impetus for male education beyond primary level [as well as for women], something that has been neglected in past policy discourse,” said Adjiwanou.
Other findings included:

On average, only one woman in four uses modern contraception; and
Overall, women with a high-school education are 83% more likely to use modern contraceptives.

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