Postponing Births – Comparing Reasons Among Women in St Petersburg, Estonia and Finland

  • Elena Regushevskaya
  • Elina Hemminki
  • Reija Klemetti
  • Anna Rotkirch
  • Helle Karro
  • Elina Haavio-Mannila
  • Anneli Miettinen
Keywords: childbearing intentions, birth postponement, Estonia, Finland, Russia


We compared the reasons for postponing first birth in the three neighbouring areas of
St Petersburg (Russia), Estonia and Finland. Data from three population-based surveys
among women aged 18–44 years in St Petersburg (response rate 67%); Estonia (54%)
and Finland (63%) in the early 2000s were used and analysed with logistic regressions.
Childbearing intentions and reasons for postponing parenthood differed between both
study areas and age groups. The proportion of women aged 35–44 still planning to have
children was highest in Estonia. In the two post-Soviet areas, job insecurity increased
postponement intentions among women aged 18–34 years. Enrolment in education was
an important reason for postponement among women below 35 years in Estonia and aged
25–34 years in St Petersburg. In Finland, poor economic situation in the youngest age
group and desire to advance a career among all women were important reasons to postpone
birth. The importance of prolonged education and job insecurity for the timing of births
in St Petersburg and Estonia suggests that governments should improve family policy
measures to encourage childbearing among the young. In Finland policies to support
the reconciliation of family and career and to increase permanent employment could
promote parenthood among well-educated women.

Jan 1, 2013
How to Cite
Regushevskaya, E., Hemminki, E., Klemetti, R., Rotkirch, A., Karro, H., Haavio-Mannila, E., & Miettinen, A. (2013). Postponing Births – Comparing Reasons Among Women in St Petersburg, Estonia and Finland. Finnish Yearbook of Population Research, 48, 127-145. Retrieved from