References

Alligood-Percoco NR, Kjerulff KH, Repke JT. Risk Factors for Dyspareunia After First Childbirth. Obstet Gynecol. 2016; 128:(3)512-18 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000001590

Amankwaa LC. Postpartum depression among African-American women. Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2003; 24:(3)297-316 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/01612840305283

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders-IV-TR.Washington, DC: APA; 2003

Anderson C. Presenting and evaluating qualitative research. Am J Pharm Educ. 2010; 74:(8) https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.5688/aj7408141

Asselmann E, Hoyer J, Wittchen HU, Martini J. Sexual problems during pregnancy and after delivery among women with and without anxiety and depressive disorders prior to pregnancy: A prospective-longitudinal study. J Sex Med. 2016; 13:(1)95-104 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2015.12.005

Avis NE, Brockwell S, Randolph JF Longitudinal changes in sexual functioning as women transition through menopause. Menopause. 2009; 16:(3)442-52 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0b013e3181948dd0

Bahadoran P, Mohammadi MM, Nasiri H, Gholami DA. The effect of face-to-face or group education during pregnancy on sexual function of couples in Isfahan. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 2015; 20:(5)582-7 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.4103/1735-9066.164512

Barclay L, Everitt L, Rogan F, Schmied V, Wyllie A. Becoming a mother - an analysis of womens experience of early motherhood. J Adv Nurs. 1997; 25:(4)719-28 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2648.1997.t01-1-1997025719.x

Barrett G, Pendry E, Peacock J, Victor C, Thakar R, Manyonda I. Women's sexual health after childbirth. BJOG. 2000; 107:(2)186-95 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2000.tb11689.x

Basson R. The female sexual response: a different model. J Sex Marital Ther. 2000; 26:(1)51-65 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/009262300278641

Bloom D, Cafiero E, Jané-Llopis E The global economic burden of non-communicable diseases.Geneva: World Economic Forum; 2011

Brotto LA, Basson R, Luria M. A mindfulness-based group psychoeducational intervention targeting sexual arousal disorder in women. J Sex Med. 2008; 5:(7)1646-59 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00850.x

Chang SR, Chang TC, Chen KH, Lin HH. Sexual function in women 3 days and 6 weeks after childbirth: a prospective longitudinal study using the Taiwan version of the Female Sexual Function Index. J Sex Med. 2010; 7:(12)3946-56 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01752.x

Colaizzi P. Psychological research as the phenomenologist's view it. In: Vale R, King M (eds). New York: Oxford University Press; 1978a

Colaizzi P. Reflections and research in psychology: A phenomenological study of learning.Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt; 1978b

Cunningham F, Leveno K, Bloom S, Hauth J, Rouse D, Spong C. Williams Obstetrics, 24th ed. New York: McGraw Hill; 2010

Dagher RK, McGovern PM, Dowd BE, Gjerdingen DK. Postpartum depression and health services expenditures among employed women. J Occup Environ Med. 2012; 54:(2)210-15 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823fdf85

Doornbos MM, Zandee GL, DeGroot J, Warpinski M. Desired mental health resources for urban, ethnically diverse, impoverished women struggling with anxiety and depression. Qual Health Res. 2013; 23:(1)78-92 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732312465018

Echeverry MC, Arango A, Castro B, Raigosa G. Study of the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction in sexually active women 18 to 40 years of age in Medellín, Colombia. J Sex Med. 2010; 7:(8)2663-9 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01695.x

Edvardsson K, Ivarsson A, Eurenius E Giving offspring a healthy start: parents experiences of health promotion and lifestyle change during pregnancy and early parenthood. BMC Public Health. 2011; 11:(1) https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-11-936

Fodstad K, Staff AC, Laine K. Sexual activity and dyspareunia the first year postpartum in relation to degree of perineal trauma. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2016; 27:(10)1513-23 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-016-3015-7

Hayes RD, Bennett CM, Fairley CK, Dennerstein L. What can prevalence studies tell us about female sexual difficulty and dysfunction?. J Sex Med. 2006; 3:(4)589-95 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00241.x

Hess R, Thurston R, Hays R The impact of menopause on health-related quality of life: results from the STRIDE longitudinal study. Qual Life Res. 2012; 21:(3)535-44

Howard J. Helping people with sexual problem.Melbourne: IP Communications; 2010

Ishak IH, Low WY, Othman S. Prevalence, risk factors, and predictors of female sexual dysfunction in a primary care setting: a survey finding. J Sex Med. 2010; 7:(9)3080-7 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01848.x

Jawed-Wessel S, Herbenick D, Schick V. The relationship between body image, female genital self-image, and sexual function among first-time mothers. J Sex Marital Ther. 2016; 2016:618-32 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2016.1212443

Johnson CE. Sexual health during pregnancy and the postpartum. J Sex Med. 2011; 8:(5)1267-84 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02223.x

Khajehei M. Prevalence and risk factors of relationship dissatisfaction in women during the first year after childbirth: Implications for family and relationship counselling. J Sex Marital Ther. 2015; 2015:484-93 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/009262 3X.2015.1069433

Khajehei M, Doherty M. Exploring postnatal depression, sexual dysfunction and relationship dissatisfaction in Australian women. British Journal of Midwifery. 2017; 25:(3)162-72 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.12968/bjom.2017.25.3.162

Khajehei M, Ziyadlou S, Safari R, Tabatabaee HR, Kashefi F. A comparison of sexual outcomes in primiparous women experiencing vaginal and caesarean births. Indian J Community Med. 2009; 34:(2)126-30 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.4103/0970-0218.51237

Khajehei M, Doherty M, Tilley PJM, Sauer K. Prevalence and risk factors of sexual dysfunction in postpartum Australian women. J Sex Med. 2015; 12:(6)1415-26 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/jsm.12901

Klein K, Worda C, Leipold H, Gruber C, Husslein P, Wenzl R. Does the mode of delivery influence sexual function after childbirth?. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009; 18:(8)1227-31 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2008.1198

Lagaert L, Weyers S, Van Kerrebroeck H, Elaut E. Postpartum dyspareunia and sexual functioning: a prospective cohort study. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2017; 22:(3)200-6 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/13625187.2017.1315938

Liu HL, Hsu P, Chen KH. Sexual Activity during Pregnancy in Taiwan: A Qualitative Study. Sexual Medicine. 2013; 1:(2)54-61 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/sm2.13

Luyben AG, Kinn SR, Fleming VEM. Becoming a mother: womens journeys from expectation to experience in three European countries. International Journal of Childbirth. 2011; 1:(1)13-26 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1891/215652811795481122

Mahmodi Y, Valiee S. A clinical trial of the effect of sexual health education on the quality of life of married Muslim women in Iran. Women Birth. 2016; 29:(1)e18-22 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2015.08.001

Martínez-Martínez A, Arnau J, Salmerón JA, Velandrino AP, Martínez ME. The sexual function of women during puerperium: a qualitative study. Sex Relationship Ther. 2017; 32:(2)181-94 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2016.126 3389

Mercer CH, Fenton KA, Johnson AM Who reports sexual function problems? Empirical evidence from Britains 2000 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. Sex Transm Infect. 2005; 81:(5)394-9 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1136/sti.2005.015149

Morof D, Barrett G, Peacock J, Victor CR, Manyonda I. Postnatal depression and sexual health after childbirth. Obstet Gynecol. 2003; 102:(6)1318-25

Muise A, Kim JJ, Impett EA, Rosen NO. Understanding when a partner is not in the mood: sexual communal strength in couples transitioning to parenthood. Arch Sex Behav. 2017; 46:(7)1993-2006 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-016-0920-2

National Health And Medical Research Council. National statement on ethical conduct in human research. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. 2007. https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/e52 (accessed 5 April 2018)

Neuman W. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches.Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon; 2011

Ngai FW, Chan SWC, Holroyd E. Chinese primiparous womens experiences of early motherhood: factors affecting maternal role competence. J Clin Nurs. 2011; 20:(9-10)1481-9 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03415.x

Nunes MA, Ferri CP, Manzolli P Nutrition, mental health and violence: from pregnancy to postpartum Cohort of women attending primary care units in Southern Brazil - ECCAGE study. BMC Psychiatry. 2010; 10:(1) https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-10-66

Olsson A, Lundqvist M, Faxelid E, Nissen E. Womens thoughts about sexual life after childbirth: focus group discussions with women after childbirth. Scand J Caring Sci. 2005; 19:(4)381-7 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6712.2005.00357.x

Pauleta JR, Pereira NM, Graça LM. Sexuality during pregnancy. J Sex Med. 2010; 7:(1)136-42 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01538.x

Pérez D'Gregorio R. Obstetric violence: A new legal term introduced in Venezuela. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2010; 111:(3)201-2 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgo.2010.09.002

Ramsey L, Hoyt T The object of desire: How being objectified creates sexual pressure for women in heterosexual relationships. Psychology of Women Quarterly. 2015; 39:(2)151-70 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1177/0361684314544679

Rivas RE, Navío JF, Martínez MC, Miranda León MT, Castillo RF, Hernández OO. Modifications in Sexual Behavior during Pregnancy and Postpartum. Related Factors. West Indian Med J. 2016; https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.7727/wimj.2015.326

Sadler M, Santos MJDS, Ruiz-Berdún D Moving beyond disrespect and abuse: addressing the structural dimensions of obstetric violence. Reprod Health Matters. 2016; 24:(47)47-55 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rhm.2016.04.002

Schoenfeld E, Loving T, Pope M, Huston T, Štulhofer A. Does sex really matter? Examining the connections between spouses' nonsexual behaviors, sexual frequency, sexual satisfaction, and marital satisfaction. Arch Sex Behav. 2017; 46:(2)489-501 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-015-0672-4

Trautmann S, Rehm J, Wittchen HU. The economic costs of mental disorders. EMBO Rep. 2016; 17:(9)1245-9 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201642951

Williamson M, McVeigh C, Baafi M. An Australian perspective of fatherhood and sexuality. Midwifery. 2008; 24:(1)99-107 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2006.07.010

Wincze J, Weisberg R. Sexual dysfunction: A guide for assessment and treatment.New York, NY: Guilford Press; 2015

Woolhouse H, McDonald E, Brown SJ. Changes to sexual and intimate relationships in the postnatal period: womens experiences with health professionals. Aust J Prim Health. 2014; 20:(3)298-304 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1071/PY13001

Prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during childbirth.Geneva: WHO; 2017

Zuriati D. A mother's struggle to get her love in Vaughn's novel “The Price of Everything”. Lingua Litera. 2017; 2:(2)

Women's experience of their sexual function during pregnancy and after childbirth: a qualitative survey

02 May 2018
20 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 5

Abstract

Background

Women's sexual function can be dramatically affected during and after pregnancy.

Aims

To explore Australian women's personal experience of changes in their sexual function during pregnancy and childbirth.

Methods

This was an online qualitative survey in which women across Australia who had given birth in the previous 12 months were invited to take part. A total of 273 responses were included.

Findings

The five main themes that emerged were: mental health changes; obstetric violence (including lack of support from caregivers, violation of privacy, instrumental delivery and episiotomy); relationship issues (including lack of support from partner, lack of intimacy and domestic violence); physical changes (including birth trauma and negative body image); and role conflict (including role incompatibility, breastfeeding and lack of sleep). Mental health changes were reported to have both positive and negative impacts on women's sexual function.

Conclusions

Women experience many changes in their sexual function during and after pregnancy. Health professionals should take an integrated approach to improve women's sexual function and overall wellness.

Women's sexual function is a multifaceted phenomenon that mirrors psychological, physiological, sociocultural, inter- and intra-personal influences, including the health of the whole body and internal systems (Chang et al, 2010; Cunningham et al, 2010; Nunes et al, 2010; Pauleta et al, 2010; Johnson, 2011). Impairments to women's normal sexual function can have negative influences on mental health and quality of life (American Psychiatric Association, 2003; Mercer et al, 2005; Howard, 2010). These problems can also be an economic burden to the family and the healthcare system (Dagher et al, 2012). These burdens are not limited to ‘direct’ diagnostic and treatment costs such as medication, visits to a clinic or hospitalisation, but instead go much further, with ‘hidden costs’ of diseases affecting growth at a macroeconomic level (Trautmann et al, 2016). It has been reported that the cumulative global effect of mental disorders in terms of lost economic output could increase to US $16 trillion in the next 20 years (Bloom et al, 2011).

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month