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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 14:59 GMT
Older women take more sexual risks
Condoms
One way of taking precautions
British women are more likely to throw sexual caution to the wind when they get to their forties, a poll has found.

Research has found that more than a third of women in their forties do not consider contraception before dating. If they become pregnant they are more likely to opt for an abortion.

And 46% of women in their forties have sex with a new partner within five dates, compared with 34% of women in their twenties.

The research by the dating service Dateline and pharmaceutical company Schering Health Care, found that as British women get older, they think about contraception less and less.

More than a fifth of women over 40 admit to never thinking about contraception.

In contrast, more than 80% of women under 40 say that contraception is a priority.

Termination

A quarter of the women surveyed in their forties claimed that they would have a termination if they fell pregnant, but only 7% of those under 40 and 10% of those over 50 said they would definitely opt for a termination.

GP and survey commentator Dr Rosemary Leonard said: "These results clearly show that older women, who are re-entering the dating game perhaps after a divorce, separation or bereavement, need to be more aware of all of the contraceptive options available to them."

The survey was conducted from more than 1,000 female members of Dateline online in the UK aged from 20 through to the late 60s.

See also:

21 Nov 01 | Health
Go-ahead for contraceptive patch
11 Jul 01 | Health
Male 'pill' within four years
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