Postponing parenthood to advanced age

  • Ulla Waldenström Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Division of Reproductive Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Keywords: Advanced maternal age, advanced paternal age, delayed childbearing, postponing parenthood


The aim of the Postponing Parenthood project was to investigate several aspects of the delaying of childbearing phenomenon in Sweden and Norway, such as medical risks and parental experiences. Data were retrieved from the Swedish and Norwegian Medical Birth Registers and three different cohorts: the Swedish Young Adult Panel Study, the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort, and the Swedish Women’s Experiences of Childbirth cohort. Postponing childbirth to age 35 years and later increased the risk of rare but serious pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth and very preterm birth. Older first-time parents were slightly more anxious during pregnancy, and childbirth overall was experienced as more difficult, compared with younger age groups. First-time mothers’ satisfaction with life decreased from about age 28 years, both when measured during pregnancy and early parenthood. Delaying parenthood to mid-30 or later was more related to lifestyle than socioeconomic factors, suggesting that much could be done in terms of informing young persons about the limitations of fertility and assisted reproductive techniques, and the risks associated with advanced parental age.


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How to Cite
Waldenström U. (2016). Postponing parenthood to advanced age. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 121(4), 235–243.