Female Sexual Function, Dysfunction, and Pregnancy: Implications for Practice


  • Jessica Murtagh CNM, MSN, RN

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    • Jessica Murtagh, CNM, MSN, RN, graduated from the Yale University School of Nursing nurse-midwifery program in May 2009 and is currently working as a midwife at Access Community Health Network, Chicago, IL.

Address correspondence to Jessica Murtagh, CNM, MSN, RN, Access Community Health Network, 600 West Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60661. jessmurtagh@gmail.com


Women's sexual function is a complex and dynamic interplay of variables that involve physical, emotional, and psychosocial states. Sexual dysfunction may occur at any level, and diagnosing such issues begins with careful assessment through a sexual health history. However, discussions about female sexual health and function are often deficient in the primary care setting. This article reviews the published research on female sexual function, sexual dysfunction, and sexual function in pregnancy to gain a better understanding of how these aspects of a woman's life impact the health care services she receives. The evaluation of female sexual function is in need of consistent measurement tools and more dialogue during health care visits. Women's health care practitioners have an opportunity to advance patient satisfaction and overall health by evaluating and communicating with female patients about their sexual function.