Women's Sexuality After Childbirth: A Pilot Study

St George's Hospital Medical School, London, England.
Archives of Sexual Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.53). 05/1999; 28(2):179-91. DOI: 10.1023/A:1018771906780
Source: PubMed


A pilot study was carried out investigating women's sexual health in the postnatal period. Postal questionnaires were sent to a cohort of 158 primiparous women approximately 7 months after delivery. Women who had resumed sexual intercourse were asked a detailed set of questions about problems experienced, sexual practices, frequency of intercourse, satisfaction with sex life, and consultation for postnatal sexual problems. All women were asked about the information they received on postnatal health prior to the birth and any information or help and advice they received from health professionals on the subject after the birth. Ninety-eight women (62%) responded. Women experienced significant levels of morbidity in the postnatal period; 3 months after delivery 58% experienced dyspareunia, 39% experienced vaginal dryness, and 44% suffered loss of sexual desire. These figures had reduced to 26, 22, and 35%, respectively, by the time of answering the questionnaire (approximately 8 to 9 months after delivery). Compared to before pregnancy, there was a decrease in frequency and satisfaction with sexual intercourse, although sexual practices changed little. Of the 67 women who reported a postnatal sexual problem, only 19% discussed this with a health professional. Conversations with health professionals in routine postnatal health contacts were mainly about contraception, and only rarely discussed problems with intercourse.

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Available from: Geraldine Barrett, Jan 20, 2016
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    • "It is important to recognize that these findings are on the group level and that individual differences seem to be considerable (Elliott & Watson, 1985; von Sydow, 1999). Also, the problems with sexual functioning may also be due to the partners' reduced interest in sexual acts (Barrett et al., 1999). Further, the problems caused by pregnancy, birth, and lactation are commonly apparent during a specific period of time, with sexual intercourse resuming 1–3 months after birth and sexual activity thereafter increases (von Sydow, Ullmeyer, & Happ, 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Associations between number of children, pregnancy, and overall relationship satisfaction were explored in a population-based sample of 2081 women, aged 33-43 years. Multiparous women had less orgasm problems compared to nulliparous women. Nulliparous women had more pain problems and were sexually less satisfied compared to women with children, regardless of the number. Women pregnant with the first child had fewer pain problems compared to a matched nonpregnant control and were sexually more satisfied. Being more satisfied with the overall relationship was related to higher sexual satisfaction and less sexual function problems.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy
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    • "Based on evidence in the literature , we can assume that sexual relations will have been resumed, especially in a group of women 15.7 months after parturition [17±19]. However, pregnancy and parturition can affect sexual functioning; an increased frequency of dyspareunia has been mentioned as a major negative effect [20] [21]. In this case we may expect an increase of the percentage of women who feel, that penis size is important. "
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