Mode of delivery, childbirth experience and postpartum sexuality
Although childbirth has been studied extensively with regard to postpartum sexuality, the association between the psychological aspects of childbirth and postpartum sexuality has rarely been examined. This research is aimed at studying the possible association of mode of delivery, childbirth experience, sexual functioning, and sexual satisfaction.
Three hundred seventy-six primiparous and nulliparous women completed this web-based survey 100–390 days postpartum. The participants completed a socio-demographic and delivery details questionnaire, the Childbirth Perception Questionnaire (CPQ), the Index of Sexual Satisfaction (ISS) and the Sexual Function Questionnaire’s Medical Impact Scale (SFQ-MIS).
Structural equation modeling showed that there are indirect effects of mode of delivery on sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction through childbirth experience. Specific significant indirect paths were found: mode of delivery to sexual functioning through childbirth experience [B = − 0.26, p = 0.023, 95% CI = (− 0.40, − 0.10)] and from mode of delivery to sexual satisfaction through childbirth experience [B = 0.11, p = 0.013, 95% CI = (0.05, 0.21)]. No significant direct effects were found between mode of delivery and sexual functioning or sexual satisfaction.
The results point to the association of the psychological experience of childbirth, sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction. In addition, we found a possible indirect link between mode of delivery and postpartum sexuality. It can be concluded that the psychological factors associated with childbirth are important to the understanding of postpartum sexuality.
KeywordsMode of delivery Childbirth experience Postpartum Sexual satisfaction Sexual functioning
JEH: Project development, data analysis, manuscript writing. SL: Project development, data analysis, manuscript writing. YP: Manuscript writing. LY: Project development, data collection, data analysis. GG: Data analysis, manuscript writing.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare no conflict of interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.