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Cesarean Section and Postnatal Sexual Health

Authors

  • Geraldine Barrett BA, MSc, PhD,

    1. Geraldine Barrett is a Lecturer in Health Studies and Janet Peacock is a Professor of Health Statistics at Brunel University, West London; Christina Victor is a Professor of Social Gerontology and Health Services Research at Reading University, Reading; and Isaac Manyonda is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, London.
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  • Janet Peacock BSc, MSc, PhD, CStat,

    1. Geraldine Barrett is a Lecturer in Health Studies and Janet Peacock is a Professor of Health Statistics at Brunel University, West London; Christina Victor is a Professor of Social Gerontology and Health Services Research at Reading University, Reading; and Isaac Manyonda is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, London.
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  • Christina R. Victor BA, MPhil, PhD,

    1. Geraldine Barrett is a Lecturer in Health Studies and Janet Peacock is a Professor of Health Statistics at Brunel University, West London; Christina Victor is a Professor of Social Gerontology and Health Services Research at Reading University, Reading; and Isaac Manyonda is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, London.
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  • Isaac Manyonda BSc, PhD, MRCOG

    Corresponding author
    1. Geraldine Barrett is a Lecturer in Health Studies and Janet Peacock is a Professor of Health Statistics at Brunel University, West London; Christina Victor is a Professor of Social Gerontology and Health Services Research at Reading University, Reading; and Isaac Manyonda is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust, London.
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* Geraldine Barrett, School of Health Sciences and Social Care, Brunel University, Borough Road, Middlesex, TW7 5DU, United Kingdom.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Background:Cesarean delivery avoids perineal trauma and has therefore often been assumed to protect sexual function after childbirth. We sought to examine this assumption by using data from a study of women's sexual health after childbirth to assess whether women who underwent cesarean section experienced better sexual health in the postnatal period than women with vaginal births. Methods:A cross-sectional study was conducted of 796 primiparous women, employing data from obstetric records and a postal survey 6 months after delivery. Results:Any protective effect of cesarean section on sexual function was limited to the early postnatal period (0–3 months), primarily to dyspareunia-related symptoms. At 6 months the differences in dyspareunia-related symptoms, sexual response-related symptoms, and postcoital problems were much reduced or reversed, and none reached statistical significance. Conclusions:Outcomes from this study provide no basis for advocating cesarean section as a way to protect women's sexual function after childbirth. (BIRTH 32:4 December 2005)

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