Sexual behavior and activity in Chinese pregnant women


*W. Y. Fok
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Princes of Wales Hospital
Shatin, Hong Kong


Objective.  To evaluate sexual activities, attitudes, and complications related to intercourse among Chinese pregnant women and to study their source of the information.

Methods.  This was a prospective cross-sectional study. Two hundred and ninety-eight Chinese pregnant women were recruited. Pregnant women completed a self-administered questionnaire anonymously. Their sexual experience and sexuality were analyzed and compared among trimesters. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess the association of various factors with a number of outcomes concerning the sexuality in pregnancy.

Results.  Ninety-three percent of the pregnant women reported an overall reduction in their sexual activities during pregnancy. Among these activities, vaginal intercourse significantly decreased in the third trimester. Besides gestation, advanced maternal age and nulliparity were independent factors associated with the reduction of vaginal intercourse (P < 0.001). Moreover, over 60% of the women, as well as more than 40% of their partners, had reduction in sexual desire and enjoyment during pregnancy. Over 80% of the women and their partners worried about the adverse effects of sexual activity on the fetus. However, less than 12% of them experienced complications after coitus during pregnancy. Among them, only 9.4% discussed sexuality with their doctors and half of them raised up this topic by themselves.

Conclusion.  Chinese pregnant women had less sexual activities and desire during pregnancy. Culture, inadequate knowledge, and excessive anxiety are likely the important factors for the marked reduction in sexuality in Chinese couples. Medical staffs should take a proactive role in providing more information to relieve their anxiety.