The impact of childbirth on female sexuality

Isabel Leal, Sílvia Lourenço, Raquel V. Oliveira, Ana Carvalheira, João Maroco


Objective: To compare variables related to sexual functioning, namely: sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, pain, sexual satisfaction and sexual function in women during the pregnancy and 3 months after delivery. Methods: This is an exploratory and descriptive, quantitative study. A non-probability, convenience sample of 62 women in the first stage, and of 52 women in the second stage, was used. The two groups were not significantly different regarding socio-demographic aspects. The main outcome measures used were the female sexual function as assessed by the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and a Socio-demographic and Clinical Questionnaire. Results: The women presented higher mean levels of sexual satisfaction after birth, than during the pregnancy presenting statistically significant differences. Also they had lower mean levels of sexual desire, sexual arousal and vaginal lubrication after delivery. Regarding the orgasm, they presented higher mean levels in the postpartum period. The overall sexual function after childbirth did not present significant differences when comparing the pregnancy period to the postpartum, but presented higher mean levels during the pregnancy. Pain levels were higher during the pregnancy. Conclusion: We found no significant differences between the two groups, in most of the studied variables. However, Sexual Arousal and Sexual Satisfaction presented statistically significant differences.


sexual function; female sexuality; childbirth