Gender Preferences and Pregnancy Trends in Kerala: Insights from NFHS Survey

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) conducted between 2019 and 2021, approximately 14 percent of men and eight percent of women in Kerala express a preference for their first child to be a boy. Conversely, only five percent of couples in the state wish for their first child to be a girl.

The survey also revealed an increase in the spacing between pregnancies among Kerala couples before having a second child. On average, women now wait for 50.7 months, which is 1.2 months longer compared to the data from the previous survey. Interestingly, about 27 percent of second births occur within three years, 12 percent within 24 months, and four percent within 18 months after the birth of the first child.

Studies suggest that longer pregnancy intervals can contribute to lower infant mortality rates and enhance the well-being of mothers. It is advisable to maintain a gap of 18 to 23 months between two pregnancies for the health of both mothers and children.

Among newlyweds, 63 percent of men and 65 percent of women are not inclined to have more than one child. An even higher percentage, with approximately 74 percent of women and 76 percent of men, have decided against having a second child in the state.

The survey also noted that teenage pregnancy rates in Kerala stand at two percent, and nearly 99 percent of men and women in the state are aware of contraceptive measures.

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