Sexual function after childbirth by the mode of delivery: A prospective study

Samuel Lurie, Michal Aizenberg, Vicky Sulema, Mona Boaz, Michal Kovo, Abraham Golan, Oscar Sadan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The objective of the present study was to evaluate sexual behavior longitudinally in the postpartum period by mode of delivery. Methods: In this prospective study, five groups were defined: women who delivered vaginally without an episiotomy (n = 16), women who delivered vaginally with an episiotomy (n = 14), women who delivered by instrumental delivery (n = 16), women who delivered by an emergent cesarean section (n = 19), and women who delivered by an elective cesarean section (n = 17). Sexual behavior was assessed by the female sexual function index (FSFI) questionnaire at 6, 12, and 24 weeks postpartum and by the timing of resumption of sexual intercourse. Results: The mean ± SD self-reported timing of resumption of sexual activity was 4.5 ± 1.8, 7.9 ± 3.0, 7.3 ± 3.4, 6.1 ± 2.6, and 6.1 ± 2.4 weeks in the vaginal delivery without an episiotomy group, in the vaginal delivery with an episiotomy group, in the instrumental delivery group, in the elective cesarean delivery group, and in the emergent cesarean delivery group, respectively (p = 0.013). The FSFI total score in the entire study group (n = 82) was 14.1 ± 10.8, 24.6 ± 7.6, and 27.7 ± 5.1 at 6, 12, and 24 weeks postpartum, respectively (p < 0.05). The FSFI total score did not differ significantly across types of mode of delivery at 6, 12, or 24 weeks postpartum. Conclusion: The significance by delivery mode difference in the postpartum resumption of sexual activity was not accompanied by difference in sexual function scores. Specifically, elective cesarean delivery was not associated with a protective effect on sexual function after childbirth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-792
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Volume288
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Cesarean section
  • Episiotomy
  • Instrumental delivery
  • Sexual function
  • Vaginal delivery

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