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Midwifery. 2016 Mar;34:15-20. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2016.01.012. Epub 2016 Feb 8.

Frequency, severity and persistence of postnatal dyspareunia to 18 months post partum: A cohort study.

Author information

1
Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address: ellie.mcdonald@mcri.edu.au.
2
Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
3
The Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
4
Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Academic Centre for General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

to describe the frequency, severity and persistence of dyspareunia in the first 18 months after the birth of a first child.

DESIGN:

prospective pregnancy cohort study.

SETTING:

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

POPULATION:

1507 nulliparous women.

METHODS:

women ≤24 weeks gestation were recruited from six public hospitals. Self-administered written questionnaires were completed at recruitment and at three, six, 12 and 18 months post partum.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

study-designed self-report measure of dyspareunia on first vaginal sex, and on second and subsequent sex at all time-points, utilising the rating scale from the McGill Pain Intensity Scale.

FINDINGS:

overall, 961/1122 (85.7%) of women experienced pain on first vaginal sex postnatally. The proportion of women experiencing dyspareunia reduced over time, from 431/964 (44.7%) at three months post partum to 261/1155 (22.6%) at 18 months post partum. Of the women who reported dyspareunia at each time-point, around 10% of women described the pain as׳distressing׳,׳horrible׳ or׳excruciating׳. Women who had a caesarean section were more likely to report more intense dyspareunia at six months post partum (aOR=2.35, 95% CI=1.2-4.6).

CONCLUSIONS:

postnatal dyspareunia decreases over time, but persists beyond 12 months for one in five women. Caesarean section appears to be associated with more intense dyspareunia.

KEYWORDS:

Cohort studies; Description of pain; Dyspareunia; Pain during sex; Postpartum period; Sexual intercourse

PMID:
26971442
DOI:
10.1016/j.midw.2016.01.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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