Barrett, Geraldine, Pendry, Elizabeth, Peacock, Janet, Victor, Christina, Thakar, Ranee and Manyonda, Isaac
Women's sexuality after childbirth:a pilot study.
Archives of Sexual Behavior, 28, (2), . (doi:10.1023/A:1018771906780).
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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 signi® cant 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 ® gures
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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