Poster session II Diabetes, labor, medical-surgical-disease, obstetric quality & safety, prematurity, ultrasound-imaging: Abstracts 237 – 386| Volume 206, ISSUE 1, SUPPLEMENT , S155, January 01, 2012

329: Postpartum sexual functioning and mode of delivery in a diverse population of women


      Sexual functioning and satisfaction are hypothesized to be adversely affected by vaginal delivery, yet this has not been well studied. We sought to explore this relationship using the Sexual Health Outcomes in Women Questionnaire (SHOW-Q), which assesses female sexual functioning including same-sex and unpartnered activity.

      Study Design

      Prospective observational study of 160 pregnant women. Baseline questionnaire included sociodemographic characteristics, reproductive history and sexual activity. Postpartum questionnaire (6-8 months) included the SHOW-Q, an open-ended question on factors interfering with sexual activity and items on delivery mode, depression and breastfeeding. Primary outcomes were overall SHOW-Q score among those who had resumed sexual activity and the sexual satisfaction subscale among all women.


      71.3% of participants delivered vaginally. At follow up, 23.2% had depression, 43% were exclusively breastfeeding, and 79.8% had resumed sexual activity. Mean SHOW-Q satisfaction subscale score was 67.8 (SD 27.8); mean overall SHOW-Q score was 72.8 (SD 19.6). Depression (p=0.01) and exclusive breastfeeding (p=0.01) were associated with poorer sexual satisfaction in multivariate analysis, while Asians showed a trend toward better scores (p=0.07). Bivariate analyses of the sexually active sample yielded African American or Latina ethnicity and having less than a college education as significant positive correlates of overall SHOW-Q score, and age and breastfeeding as negative correlates. The age and education trends persisted in multivariable analysis. Factors identified as interfering with sexual activity included being tired (21.9%) and presence of children at home (35.9%). Women who delivered by cesarean had lower scores than those who delivered vaginally, but this was not statistically significant.


      Postpartum sexual functioning as measured by the SHOW-Q appears to be associated with depression and exclusive breastfeeding, and may be related to delivery mode. Further research with larger sample sizes are needed to gain a better understanding of these relationships.
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