A pilot study was carried out investigatingwomen's sexual health in the postnatal period. Postalquestionnaires were sent to a cohort of 158 primiparouswomen approximately 7 months after delivery. Women who had resumed sexual intercourse were askeda detailed set of questions about problems experienced,sexual practices, frequency of intercourse, satisfactionwith sex life, and consultation for postnatal sexual problems. All women were asked about theinformation they received on postnatalhealth prior tothe birth and any information or help and advice theyreceived from health professionals on the subject after the birth. Ninety-eight women (62%)responded. Women experienced significant levels ofmorbidity in the postnatal period; 3 months afterdelivery 58% experienced dyspareunia, 39% experiencedvaginal dryness, and 44% suffered loss of sexualdesire. These figures had reduced to 26, 22, and 35%,respectively, by the time of answering the questionnaire(approximately 8 to 9 months after delivery). Compared to before pregnancy, there was a decrease infrequency and satisfaction with sexual intercourse,although sexual practices changed little. Of the 67women who reported a postnatal sexual problem, only 19% discussed this with a health professional.Conversations with health professionals in routinepostnatal health contacts were mainly aboutcontraception, and only rarely discussed problems withintercourse.
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