Introduction. Childbirth impacts sexual function in women, but few reports have addressed sexual function shortly after childbirth.
Aim. Using the Taiwan version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFIT), this study aimed to describe women's sexual function and to examine differences between groups in sexual function shortly after delivery.
Methods. A prospective longitudinal investigation was performed in women who completed the FSFIT, a numeric analog scale, the Taiwan version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), and a demographic questionnaire in a Taiwanese medical center at 3 days and 6 weeks postpartum.
Main Outcome Measures. Using a general linear model, differences were tested between groups, including those defined by delivery mode, type of feeding, depression score, pain score, and birth history.
Results. After adjusting for covariates, (i) significant differences in sexual function and desire were found between the vaginal delivery and Cesarean section groups at day 3 and week 6 postpartum (P = 0.0419 and <0.0001, respectively); (ii) differences in desire and satisfaction between the tubal ligation and not groups were significant at both time points (P = 0.0346 and 0.0338); (iii) differences in sexual function and sexual activity or intercourse between low and high CES-D scores were significant at 6 weeks postpartum (P = 0.0040 and 0.0043, respectively); and (iv) differences between pain level groups in sexual activity or intercourse and desire were significant at 6 weeks (P = 0.0493 and 0.0004). At 3 days postpartum, significant differences between educational level and ethnic groups were observed (P = 0.0002 and 0.0414).
Conclusions. The results showed significant differences in sexual function shortly after delivery between groups based on delivery method, tubal ligation, depression, pain, ethnicity, and educational level. This information may help health professionals to be more aware of women's perception of sexuality and may foster sensitivity in assessing their sexual function after childbirth. Chang S-R, Chang T-C, Chen K-H, and Lin H-H. Sexual function in women 3 days and 6 weeks after childbirth: A prospective longitudinal study using the Taiwan version of the Female Sexual Function Index. J Sex Med 2010;7:3946–3956.