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BJOG. 2013 Jun;120(7):823-30. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12166. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Does method of birth make a difference to when women resume sex after childbirth?

Author information

1
Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. ellie.mcdonald@mcri.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the timing of resumption of vaginal sex and assess associations with method of birth, perineal trauma and other obstetric and social factors.

DESIGN:

Prospective pregnancy cohort study of nulliparous women.

SETTING:

Melbourne, Australia.

SAMPLE:

A total of 1507 nulliparous women recruited in early pregnancy (≤24 weeks).

METHOD:

Women were recruited from six public hospitals. Data from hospital records and self-administered questionnaires at recruitment and 3, 6 and 12 months postpartum were analysed using univariable and multivariable logistic regression.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

Resumption of vaginal sex.

RESULTS:

Sexual activity was resumed earlier than vaginal sex, with 53% resuming sexual activity by 6 weeks postpartum, and 41% attempting vaginal sex. By 8 weeks a majority of women had attempted vaginal sex (65%), increasing to 78% by 12 weeks, and 94% by 6 months. Compared with women who had a spontaneous vaginal birth with an intact perineum, women who had a spontaneous vaginal birth with an episiotomy (adjusted odds ratio 3.43, 95% confidence interval 1.9-6.2) or sutured perineal tear (adjusted odds ratio 3.18, 95% confidence interval 2.1-4.9) were more likely not to have resumed vaginal sex by 6 weeks postpartum. Similarly, women who had an assisted vaginal birth or caesarean section had raised odds of delaying resumption of sex.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most women having a first birth do not resume vaginal sex until later than 6 weeks postpartum. Women who have an operative vaginal birth, caesarean section or perineal tear or episiotomy appear to delay longer.

PMID:
23442053
DOI:
10.1111/1471-0528.12166
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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