Reproductive changes among women in their 40s

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In a study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica that examined the total population of women aged 40–49 years between 2008–2018 in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, birth rates increased in Denmark and Sweden, and births resulting from assisted reproductive technology doubled in all three countries.

Among the major findings:

  • Use of hormonal contraception increased among women aged 40–44 years in Denmark from 24% to 31%, in Sweden from 27% to 30%, and in Norway from 22% to 24%.
  • Birth rates among women 40–44 years increased from 9.5 to 12 per 1,000 women in Denmark and from 11.7 to 14.3 per 1,000 in Sweden, while they remained stable in Norway at approximately 11 per 1,000 women.
  • In women aged 40–49 years, there was a doubling of assisted conceptions in Denmark from 0.71 to 1.71 per 1,000 women, in Sweden from 0.43 to 0.81 per 1,000, and in Norway from 0.25 to 0.53 per 1,000 women.
  • Sweden had the highest induced abortion rate (7.7 to 8.1 per 1,000 women) in women aged 40–49 years during the study period.

"This study confirms the trend of postponing childbirth observed for most of Europe and demonstrates the important role of assisted reproductive technology on in this age group," said lead author Ingela Lindh, MD, of Sahlgrenska University Hospital, in Sweden. "The study provides valuable information to improve women's knowledge about their fertility."

More information: Ingela Lindh et al, Reproductive changes among women in their 40s: A cross‐sectional study, Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica (2022). DOI: 10.1111/aogs.14302

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