Present address: Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, York Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, York, UK
Sexual function, delivery mode history, pelvic floor muscle exercises and incontinence: A cross-sectional study six years post-partum
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Volume 48, Issue 3, pages 302–311, June 2008
How to Cite
DEAN, N., WILSON, D., HERBISON, P., GLAZENER, C., AUNG, T. and MACARTHUR, C. (2008), Sexual function, delivery mode history, pelvic floor muscle exercises and incontinence: A cross-sectional study six years post-partum. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 48: 302–311. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-828X.2008.00854.x
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2008
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2008
- Received 26 January 2008; accepted 29 January 2008.
- faecal incontinence;
- mode of delivery;
- pelvic floor muscle exercises;
- sexual function;
- urinary incontinence
Background: There is controversy over the effect of mode of delivery, pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME), incontinence and sexual function.
Aim: To investigate the relationship of sexual function with delivery mode history, PFMEs and incontinence.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional postal survey of women, six years post-partum, who had given birth in maternity units in Aberdeen, Birmingham and Dunedin and had answered a previous questionnaire. Each sexual function question was analysed separately by anova.
Results: At six years post-index delivery, 4214 women responded, of whom 2765 (65%) answered the optional ten sexual function questions. Although there was little association between delivery mode history and most sexual function questions, women who had delivered exclusively by caesarean section scored significantly better on the questions relating to their perception of vaginal tone for their own (P-value < 0.0001) and partner's (P-value 0.002) sexual satisfaction, especially when compared with women who had had vaginal and instrumental deliveries. Women who reported that they were currently performing PFME scored significantly better on seven questions. Women with urinary or faecal incontinence scored significantly poorer on all sexual function questions.
Conclusions: Mode of delivery history appeared to have minimal effect on sexual function. Current PFME performance was positively associated with most aspects of sexual function, however, all aspects were negatively associated with urinary and faecal incontinence.