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BJOG. 2006 Aug;113(8):914-8.

Which factors determine the sexual function 1 year after childbirth?

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Department of Perinatology and Gynaecology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.



To evaluate which factors determine sexual activity and satisfaction with the sexual relationship 1 year after the first delivery.


Prospective longitudinal cohort study.


Ten midwifery practices.


Three hundred and seventy-seven nulliparous women were included.


The Maudsley Marital Questionnaire is a standardised and validated questionnaire with 15 items relating to marital and sexual adjustment, with a nine-point (0-8) scale appended to each question. Scores on the sexual scale (MMQ-S) range from 0 to 40. Higher scores are indicative of greater dissatisfaction. Sexual intercourse was dichotomised into having sexual intercourse or not having sexual intercourse. Several obstetric and maternal factors were analysed.


Sexual intercourse at 1 year postpartum and dissatisfaction with the sexual relationship as assessed by the MMQ-S scale.


In multiple logistic regression analysis, the main predictive factor for no sexual intercourse 1 year postpartum was no sexual intercourse at 12 weeks of gestation (beta 11.0 [4.01-30.4]). Women were five times less likely to be sexually active after a third/fourth degree anal sphincter tear as compared with women with an intact perineum (beta 0.2 [0.04-0.93]). Dissatisfaction with the sexual relationship 1 year after childbirth, assessed with the MMQ-S scale, is associated with not being sexually active at 12 weeks of gestation (beta- 0.208, P= 0.004) and with an older maternal age at delivery (beta 0.405, P= 0.032).


An important prognostic factor for dissatisfaction with the sexual relationship 1 year postpartum was not being sexually active in early pregnancy. Satisfaction with the sexual relationship seems not to depend on pregnancy- and parturition-associated factors.

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