High birth rates despite easy access to contraception and abortion: a cross-sectional study

Helena Hognert, Finn E Skjeldestad, Kristina Gemzell-Danielsson, Oskari Heikinheimo, Ian Milsom, Øjvind Lidegaard, Ingela Lindh

    13 Citationer (Scopus)


    INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to describe and compare contraceptive use, fertility, birth, and abortion rates in the Nordic countries.

    MATERIAL AND METHODS: National data on births, abortions, fertility rate (1975-2013), redeemed prescriptions of hormonal contraceptives and sales figures of copper intrauterine devices (2008-2013) among women 15-49 years of age in the Nordic countries were collected and analyzed.

    RESULTS: Use of hormonal contraceptives and copper intrauterine devices varied between 31 and 44%. The highest use was in Denmark (39-44%) and Sweden (40-42%). Combined hormonal contraception followed by the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system were the most common methods. During 1975-2013 abortion rates decreased in Denmark (from 27/1000 women to 15/1000 women aged 15-44/1000 women) and Finland (from 20 to 10/1000 women), remained stable in Norway (≈16) and Sweden (≈20) and increased in Iceland (from 6 to 15/1000 women). Birth rates remained stable around 60/1000 women aged 15-44 in all countries except for Iceland where the birth rate decreased from 95 to 65/1000 women. Abortion rates were highest in the age group 20-24 years. In the same age group, Sweden had a lower contraceptive use (51%) compared with Denmark (59%) and Norway (56%) and a higher abortion rate 33/1000 compared with Denmark (25/1000) and Norway (27/1000).

    CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to the declining average fertility and birth rates in Europe, rates in the Nordic countries remain high and stable despite high contraceptive use and liberal access to abortion on women's request.

    TidsskriftActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
    Udgave nummer12
    Sider (fra-til)1414-1422
    Antal sider9
    StatusUdgivet - dec. 2017


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