• Arizona Sexual Experience Scale;
  • Beck depression inventory;
  • nursing;
  • postpartum period;
  • sexual problem;
  • women

Aim.  The aim of this study was to evaluate the sexual problems in women during the first postpartum year and related conditions.

Background.  In the postpartum period, women encounter numerous physical, psychological and sociocultural factors. These factors negatively affect both the sexual function and the quality of life of woman.

Design.  A descriptive survey.

Methods.  In this study, 230 women were included. The study was conducted between September 2007 and December 2008 in Izmir, Turkey. A questionnaire form developed by authors, the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale-female version and the Beck depression inventory were applied for participants.

Results.  The women began to have sexual intercourse within 7·06 weeks after delivery. Of the women, 58·3% reported that they had dyspareunia in the postpartum period. According to Arizona Sexual Experience Scale, the total score was ≥11 in 91·3% of women and they had sexual problems in the first postpartum year. The results of the multivariate analysis revealed that the increase in age, the presence of sexual problems during pregnancy and the increase in time after delivery significantly increased the possibility of postpartum sexual problems.

Conclusion.  This study revealed that the majority of the women had postpartum sexual problems and the possibility of postpartum sexual problems increased with the increase in age, the presence of sexual problems during pregnancy and the increase in time after delivery.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Healthcare professionals should evaluate women in terms of their sexual functions during both pregnancy and postpartum period. Health education, counselling, referral services for early diagnosis and treatment might contribute to the protection and improvement of the sexual health of women during the postpartum period.