Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief
How soon can we have sex after the birth of our baby and how is sex after the birth of a baby? These questions must be prominent in the minds of many couples who are expecting or who have just had a a baby. And this is the focus of an article from Spain by Triviño-Juárez et al (2017) titled: 'Resumption of intercourse, self-reported decline in sexual intercourse and dyspareunia in women by mode of birth: A prospective follow-up study' and published in JAN which aimed to: 'evaluate the association between mode of birth and the resumption of sexual intercourse, self-reported decline in sexual intercourse and dyspareunia in women at the 6th week and 6th month postpartum.'
The study on which the article is based sent a questionnaire to over 500 women who had given birth only once. They found that mode of birth and any tears but also social class was related to non-resumption of intercourse 6 weeks after birth. So, forceps birth and higher social class led to lower resumption of intercourse in addition to tears at birth. At six months, mothers who were depressed after birth or who had used emergency admissions for a health problem were less likely to resume intercourse. At both 6 weeks and 6 months, breastfeeding was associated with more painful intercourse.
The authors conclude: 'Our results give reasonable support to the idea that limiting forceps birth and perineal trauma could reduce time until resumption of intercourse after childbirth. Counselling by midwives about sexual functioning and resumption of intercourse should be provided in antenatal and postnatal educational classes; in addition, women could be given advice on lubrication for sexual intercourse and alternative sexual positions. Every attempt should be made to relieve the anticipated fear of resumption of intercourse, especially if the woman has experienced perineal trauma. Midwives often do not see women beyond 7–10 days postpartum and they may not ask questions about sexual intercourse at this time.'
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