Rebecca G. Rogers, MD, is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Urology and the Division Director of Urogynecology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. In addition, she is the director of the Fellowship in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at UNM. Her work has focused on female pelvic floor disorders, in particular sexual function and pelvic floor changes that occur after childbirth.
Does Spontaneous Genital Tract Trauma Impact Postpartum Sexual Function?
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2009 American College of Nurse Midwives
Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health
Volume 54, Issue 2, pages 98–103, March-April 2009
How to Cite
Rogers, R. G., Borders, N., Leeman, L. M. and Albers, L. L. (2009), Does Spontaneous Genital Tract Trauma Impact Postpartum Sexual Function?. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 54: 98–103. doi: 10.1016/j.jmwh.2008.09.001
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- genital tract trauma;
- postpartum recovery;
- postpartum sexual function;
- postpartum sexual activity
Changes in sexual function are common in postpartum women. In this comparative, descriptive study, a prospective cohort of midwifery patients consented to documentation of genital trauma at birth and assessment of sexual function at 3 months postpartum. The impact of spontaneous genital trauma on postpartum sexual function was the focus of the study. Trauma was categorized into minor trauma (no trauma or first-degree perineal or other trauma that was not sutured) or major trauma (second-, third-, or fourth-degree lacerations or any trauma that required suturing). Women who underwent episiotomy or operative delivery were excluded. Fifty-eight percent (326/565) of enrolled women gave sexual function data; of those, 276 (85%) reported sexual activity since delivery. Seventy percent (193) of women sustained minor trauma and 30% (83) sustained major trauma. Sexually active women completed the Intimate Relationship Scale (IRS), a 12-item questionnaire validated as a measure of postpartum sexual function. Both trauma groups were equally likely to be sexually active. Total IRS scores did not differ between trauma groups nor did complaints of dyspareunia. However, for two items, significant differences were demonstrated: women with major trauma reported less desire to be held, touched, and stroked by their partner than women with minor trauma, and women who required perineal suturing reported lower IRS scores than women who did not require suturing.