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J Sex Med. 2012 Oct;9(10):2582-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02874.x. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Depressive symptoms as a predictor of sexual function during pregnancy.

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School of Nursing, College of Medicine and Hospital, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Biopsychological and sociocultural factors have been reported to be associated with sexual function in pregnancy. To date, very few studies have focused on the relationship between sexual function and depression during pregnancy.


To determine whether depressive symptoms predict overall sexual function, desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain during pregnancy by using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).


Pregnant women undergoing prenatal examinations were randomly selected for this cross-sectional investigation. The study included 555 pregnant women who completed the Taiwanese versions of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), FSFI, and a demographic questionnaire during pregnancy.


CES-D scores for depressive symptoms, scores for overall sexual function on the FSFI, and the FSFI domains: desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain.


After adjusting for demographic factors, CES-D scores during the first trimester negatively predicted overall sexual function (P=0.0004), arousal (P=0.0104), lubrication (P=0.0016), orgasm (P=0.0022), and pain (P<0.0001). Moreover, CES-D scores during the third trimester negatively predicted sexual desire (P=0.0005) and satisfaction (P<0.0001). Furthermore, gestational age negatively predicted overall sexual function, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and pain (all P<0.0001). Parity was a positive predictor of overall sexual function, arousal, lubrication, and orgasm (all P<0.0005). Medical conditions were positive predictors of sexual desire (P=0.0023).


The present study revealed that depressive symptom scores during early and late pregnancy were significant negative predictors of sexual function during pregnancy.

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