Pregnancy and childbirth bring many changes to the health and well-being of new mothers. Postpartum sexual health is a common concern that is often not discussed during prenatal or postpartum care and has received little attention from either clinicians or researchers. In this article, we review current theories of female sexual response, the epidemiology of postpartum sexual dysfunction, and the use of screening tools to identify women with sexual health concerns. Specifically, we present a review of published data regarding the effect of mode of delivery, perineal lacerations, postpartum depression, and breastfeeding on postpartum sexual activity and function. Finally, suggestions for how to screen for and approach the treatment of postpartum sexual problems are presented.
Women experience many changes in sexual health after giving birth, and screening for sexual dysfunction during and after pregnancy is offered.
From the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Family Medicine, and Surgery, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Continuing medical education for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/AOG/A284.
Corresponding author: Rebecca G. Rogers, MD, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2211 Lomas Boulevard NE, ACC-4, Albuquerque, NM 87131-5286; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Financial Disclosure Dr. Rogers serves as the Data Safety Monitoring Chair for the TRANSFORM trial, sponsored by American Medical Systems. The other author did not report any potential conflicts of interest.