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Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Jul;47(5):1497-1505. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-1046-x. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

Morphometric and Vascular Modifications of the Clitoris During Pregnancy: A Longitudinal, Pilot Study.

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Department of Gynecology and Human Reproduction, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti, 13, 40138, Bologna, Italy.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Mangiagalli, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Department of Obstetrics Gynecology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.
Department of Gynecology and Human Reproduction, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Via Massarenti, 13, 40138, Bologna, Italy.


During pregnancy, women go through a series of physical and emotional changes that may have an impact on their sexuality. The aim of the study was to examine modifications in sexual function during pregnancy by means of translabial ultrasonography and administration of questionnaires on sexual activity. Eighteen healthy and adult (25-35 years) pregnant women without sexual dysfunction and with a stable heterosexual relationship were examined at 10-12, 18-20, and 30-32 weeks of gestation. Patients underwent ultrasonographic translabial clitoral volume and labia minora thickness measurements and color Doppler assessment of the dorsal clitoral and posterior labial arteries. On the same day, each patient completed the two-factor Italian McCoy Female Questionnaire (MFSQ) and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). The mean clitoral body volume progressively increased during pregnancy, and color Doppler analysis of the dorsal clitoral artery showed a significant decrease in the pulsatility index from the first to the third trimester. Similarly, the labia minora thickness increased and the posterior labial artery pulsatility index progressively decreased throughout gestation. The MFSQ score for sexuality and partnership and the number of intercourses/week did not significantly change during the study period. However, the MFSQ score for partnership reached the lowest value in the third trimester of pregnancy. Analysis of the FSFI data showed no significant differences throughout pregnancy for the majority of the domains (sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, lubrication, and pain), with the exception of the satisfaction item, which decreased during the third trimester. A significant proportion of women are concerned that changes in their body during pregnancy may have a detrimental effect on sexuality. Despite significant changes in genital morphology and vascularity throughout gestation, these modifications do not seem to have an impact on sexual function in pregnancy.


Clitoris; Doppler; Labia minora; Pregnancy; Ultrasound


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