Childbirth not major contributor to women`s sexual dysfunction

Washington: Researchers have revealed that women's childbirth history is not significantly associated with their likelihood of reporting low sexual desire, less than monthly sexual activity, or low overall sexual satisfaction later in life.

Past studies have pointed to a negative short-term effect of childbirth in general and vaginal delivery in particular, on postpartum sexual function. This has led some women to push for caesarean rather than vaginal birth without other medical indications, according to the researchers.

In one of the few studies to examine sexual function in women more than two years after childbirth, the researchers at UC San Francisco controlled for women's age, race or ethnicity, partner status, general health status, and diabetes status. They found that childbirth is not a significant contributor to sexual dysfunction in women later in life.

Senior author Alison Huang , MD, MAS, assistant professor of medicine, UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine said that these findings provide reassuring evidence for women, who have had or are planning to have children, that neither the total number of deliveries nor type of delivery is likely to have a substantial long-term detrimental effect on their sexual function.

Researchers analyzed data from a large, population-based, ethnically diverse group of women aged 40 years and older enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

They examined whether women's current sexual function was influenced by the number of times they had given birth, whether their past deliveries were cesarean or vaginal, and other aspects of their childbirth history such as delivery after 40 weeks of gestation, induction and augmentation of labour,spinal anesthesia, episiotomy, third or fourth degree perineal lacerations, and a birth weight of the baby greater than or equal to 4,000 grams.

The study is published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.