Pregnancies, Deliveries and Newborn Infants – The Swedish Medical Birth Register 1973–2008, Assisted Reproduction, Treatment 1991–2007


Since the medical birth register started in 1973, substantial changes have taken place both for the childbearing women and in the circumstances re-lated to delivery. New methods for monitoring pregnancy and pain relief have been introduced and great progress has been made in the care of pre-term born babies. In this report, we present statistics that describe the devel-opment of maternal and obstetric care in Sweden between 1973 and 2008. We have chosen to present information that we know is in demand both by the health service and the general public. Where there is reason to do so, we have shown differences between counties and county councils.

The number of births continued to increase in 2008. The number of births decreased during the 1970s and early 1980s, but rose again, to peak 1990-1992. After that the number of birth decreased heavily and reached a bottom level of less than 89 000 children born per year in 1998-1999. In the 2000s the number of births has increased steadily and more than 109 000 children were born in Sweden in 2008. The mean age of women giving birth to their first child (primiparas) has risen from just under 24 years in 1973 to 28 years in 2008.

The proportion of women who are overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or more) when registering for antenatal care has increased from 27 per cent in 1993 to more than 36 per cent in 2008. The proportion of pregnant women born outside the Nordic countries has risen from just over 5 per cent in 1978 to 21 per cent in 2008. Daily smoking in early pregnancy has decreased from 31 per cent in 1983 to about 7 per cent in 2008.

The average period of in-patient care for women with vaginal delivery has decreased from 6 days in 1973 to 2 days in 2008. The care period for caesa-rean deliveries fell from 9 days to over 3 days in the same period. On aver-age, 47 per cent of all primiparas had epidural anaesthesia during labour in 2008. There are considerable regional differences in the use of epidural anaesthesia.

The proportion of singleton deliveries with caesarean section continued to rise and the frequency was almost 17 per cent in 2008. The corresponding number for 1973 was 5 per cent. For multiple deliveries the proportion of caesarean sections has increased from just below 10 per cent in 1973 to 53 per cent in 2008. More than 90 per cent of all breech presentations were delivered by caesarean section in 2008.

Neonatal mortality (children born alive who die within 28 days) has de-creased from 8 per 1,000 live born children 1973 to 1.6 per 1,000 live born children in 2008.


Milla Bennis
+46 75 247 33 15

Anna LIndam
+46 75 247 32 04