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Ecological study on the use of hormonal contraception, abortions and births among teenagers in the Nordic countries

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  • Helena Hognert
  • Finn Egil Skjeldestad
  • Kristina Gemzell-Danielsson
  • Oskari Heikinheimo
  • Ian Milsom
  • Øjvind Lidegaard
  • Ingela Lindh
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OBJECTIVES: Compare hormonal contraceptive use, birth and abortion rates among teenagers in the Nordic countries. A secondary aim was to explore plausible explanations for possible differences between countries.

DESIGN: Ecological study using national registry data concerning births and abortions among all women aged 15-19 years residing in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden 2008-2015. Age-specific data on prescriptions for hormonal contraceptives for the period 2008-2015 were obtained from national databases in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

SETTING: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

PARTICIPANTS: Women 15-19 years old in all Nordic countries (749 709) and 13-19 years old in Denmark, Norway and Sweden (815 044).

RESULTS: Both annual birth rates and abortion rates fell in all the Nordic countries during the study period. The highest user rate of hormonal contraceptives among 15-19-year-olds was observed in Denmark (from 51% to 47%) followed by Sweden (from 39% to 42%) and Norway (from 37% to 41%). Combined oral contraceptives were the most commonly used methods in all countries. The use of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), implants and the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems, were increasing, especially in Sweden and Norway. In the subgroup of 18-19-year-old teenagers, the user rates of hormonal contraceptives varied between 63% and 61% in Denmark, 56% and 61% in Norway and 54% and 56% in Sweden. In the same subgroup, the steepest increase of LARC was seen, from 2% to 6% in Denmark, 2% to 9% in Norway and 7% to 17% in Sweden.

CONCLUSIONS: Birth and abortion rates continuously declined in the Nordic countries among teenagers. There was a high user rate of hormonal contraceptives, with an increase in the use of LARC especially among the oldest teenagers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Open
Volume8
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)e022473
ISSN2044-6055
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2018

ID: 55853730