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Arch Sex Behav. 1999 Apr;28(2):179-91.

Women's sexuality after childbirth: a pilot study.

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St George's Hospital Medical School, London, England.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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