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Postpartum dyspareunia and sexual functioning : a prospective cohort study

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Abstract
Objectives: Sexual functioning is an important concern for women in the postpartum period. The aim of this research was to investigate the prevalence and determinants of dyspareunia and sexual dysfunction before and after childbirth. Methods: Between November 2013 and April 2014, 109 women in their third trimester of pregnancy were enrolled in a prospective cohort study at Ghent University Hospital. Dyspareunia, sexual functioning and quality of life (QOL) were evaluated at enrolment and again 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Sexual functioning and QOL were assessed using validated self-report questionnaires: the Female Sexual Function Index and the Short Form-36 health survey. Dyspareunia was evaluated by a specific self-developed questionnaire. Results: One hundred and nine women were enrolled; respectively, 71 (65.1%), 66 (60.6%) and 64 (58.7%) women returned the questionnaires prepartum, and 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Sexual functioning at 6 weeks was predictive of sexual functioning at 6 months postpartum (r(s) = 0.345, p = .015). The prevalence of dyspareunia in the third trimester of pregnancy, and 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum was, respectively, 32.8%, 51.0% and 40.7%. The severity of pain decreased significantly between 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum (p = .003). In the first 6 weeks postpartum, the degree of dyspareunia was significantly associated with breastfeeding (p = .045) and primiparity (p = .020). At 6 months, only the association with primiparity remained significant (p = .022). Conclusions: The impaired postpartum sexual functioning, the high prevalence of dyspareunia postpartum and their impact on QOL indicate the need for further investigation and extensive counselling of pregnant women, especially primiparous women, about sexuality after childbirth.
Keywords
Dyspareunia, FSFI, postpartum period, pregnancy, quality of life, sexual dysfunction, PRIMIPAROUS WOMEN, PERINEAL TRAUMA, CHILDBIRTH, DELIVERY, EPISIOTOMY, HEALTH, MODE, PREGNANCY, MORBIDITY

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Citation

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MLA
Lagaert, Liesbet et al. “Postpartum Dyspareunia and Sexual Functioning : a Prospective Cohort Study.” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CONTRACEPTION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE 22.3 (2017): 200–206. Print.
APA
Lagaert, L., Weyers, S., VAN KERREBROECK, H., & Elaut, E. (2017). Postpartum dyspareunia and sexual functioning : a prospective cohort study. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CONTRACEPTION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE, 22(3), 200–206.
Chicago author-date
Lagaert, Liesbet, Steven Weyers, HELENA VAN KERREBROECK, and Els Elaut. 2017. “Postpartum Dyspareunia and Sexual Functioning : a Prospective Cohort Study.” European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care 22 (3): 200–206.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Lagaert, Liesbet, Steven Weyers, HELENA VAN KERREBROECK, and Els Elaut. 2017. “Postpartum Dyspareunia and Sexual Functioning : a Prospective Cohort Study.” European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care 22 (3): 200–206.
Vancouver
1.
Lagaert L, Weyers S, VAN KERREBROECK H, Elaut E. Postpartum dyspareunia and sexual functioning : a prospective cohort study. EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CONTRACEPTION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE. 2017;22(3):200–6.
IEEE
[1]
L. Lagaert, S. Weyers, H. VAN KERREBROECK, and E. Elaut, “Postpartum dyspareunia and sexual functioning : a prospective cohort study,” EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CONTRACEPTION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 200–206, 2017.
@article{7177151,
  abstract     = {Objectives: Sexual functioning is an important concern for women in the postpartum period. The aim of this research was to investigate the prevalence and determinants of dyspareunia and sexual dysfunction before and after childbirth. 
Methods: Between November 2013 and April 2014, 109 women in their third trimester of pregnancy were enrolled in a prospective cohort study at Ghent University Hospital. Dyspareunia, sexual functioning and quality of life (QOL) were evaluated at enrolment and again 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Sexual functioning and QOL were assessed using validated self-report questionnaires: the Female Sexual Function Index and the Short Form-36 health survey. Dyspareunia was evaluated by a specific self-developed questionnaire. 
Results: One hundred and nine women were enrolled; respectively, 71 (65.1%), 66 (60.6%) and 64 (58.7%) women returned the questionnaires prepartum, and 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Sexual functioning at 6 weeks was predictive of sexual functioning at 6 months postpartum (r(s) = 0.345, p = .015). The prevalence of dyspareunia in the third trimester of pregnancy, and 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum was, respectively, 32.8%, 51.0% and 40.7%. The severity of pain decreased significantly between 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum (p = .003). In the first 6 weeks postpartum, the degree of dyspareunia was significantly associated with breastfeeding (p = .045) and primiparity (p = .020). At 6 months, only the association with primiparity remained significant (p = .022). 
Conclusions: The impaired postpartum sexual functioning, the high prevalence of dyspareunia postpartum and their impact on QOL indicate the need for further investigation and extensive counselling of pregnant women, especially primiparous women, about sexuality after childbirth.},
  author       = {Lagaert, Liesbet and Weyers, Steven and VAN KERREBROECK, HELENA and Elaut, Els},
  issn         = {1362-5187},
  journal      = {EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF CONTRACEPTION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE},
  keywords     = {Dyspareunia,FSFI,postpartum period,pregnancy,quality of life,sexual dysfunction,PRIMIPAROUS WOMEN,PERINEAL TRAUMA,CHILDBIRTH,DELIVERY,EPISIOTOMY,HEALTH,MODE,PREGNANCY,MORBIDITY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {200--206},
  title        = {Postpartum dyspareunia and sexual functioning : a prospective cohort study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13625187.2017.1315938},
  volume       = {22},
  year         = {2017},
}

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