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J Reprod Immunol. 2009 Oct;82(1):66-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2009.04.011. Epub 2009 Aug 12.

Duration of sexual relationship and its effect on preeclampsia and small for gestational age perinatal outcome.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Auckland, New Zealand.


The aim of this study was to determine if women with preeclampsia or delivering small for gestational age (SGA) babies are more likely to have a short duration of sexual relationship compared with those who have uncomplicated pregnancies. In a prospective cohort study, 2507 nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies were interviewed at 15+/-1 weeks gestation about the duration of their sexual relationship with the biological father. Short duration of sexual relationship (< or =6 months, < or =3 months, or first intercourse) was compared between women with preeclampsia (N=131) or SGA babies (N=263) and those with uncomplicated pregnancies (N=1462). Short duration of sexual relationship was more common in women with preeclampsia compared with uncomplicated pregnancies (< or =6 months 14.5% versus 6.9%, adjusted odds ratio [adjOR] 1.88, 95% CI 1.05-3.36; < or =3 months 6.9% versus 2.5%, adjOR 2.32, 95% CI 1.03-5.25; first intercourse 1.5% versus 0.5%, adjOR 5.75, 95% CI 1.13-29.3). Although the total number of semen exposures was lower in SGA, SGA was not associated with a shorter duration of sexual relationship. On post hoc analysis, the subgroup of SGA with abnormal uterine artery Doppler at 20 weeks (N=58) were more likely to have had a short sexual relationship compared with controls (< or =6 months adjOR 2.33, 95% CI 1.09-4.98; < or =3 months adjOR 3.22, 95% CI 1.18-8.79; first intercourse adjOR 8.02, 95% CI 1.58-40.7). We conclude that compared to uncomplicated pregnancies, short duration of sexual relationship is more common in women who develop preeclampsia and women with abnormal uterine artery Doppler waveforms who deliver an SGA baby.

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