Featured Advertisers: | Natural Products Guide | Happy Heiny's Sale!

Web www.naturalfamilyonline.com

Is Sex Better After Cesarean Deliveries?

Posted: Pregnancy & Birth » Relationships » Women's Health » Postpartum » Sex | October 15th, 2006



From The Thinking Parent

There is no perineal trauma associated with cesarean delivery as opposed to vaginal delivery. For this reason, some speculate that cesarean delivery may help prevent problems in sexual functioning. A study in the United Kingdom did not find any benefit from cesarean delivery with regard to sexual functioning.

Free Baby Website - Affordable Baby Web Site
FREE safe, secure baby and toddler websites!

What the researchers did

First-time mothers (a total of 484) giving birth in a London hospital participated in the study. Participants were generally white, married and employed. Of these women, 50 percent had a vaginal delivery without complications, 25 percent had an instrumental (e.g., forceps) vaginal delivery and 25 percent had a cesarean delivery. Six months after delivery, they were asked if they had resumed sexual intercourse or had attempted to do so. If they had, they were asked to recall the sexual problems they had in the year before pregnancy, in the first three months after delivery and any problems they were experiencing currently.

What the researchers found

Virtually none of the women who had a cesarean delivery had any perineal damage. Those who delivered vaginally most often had an episiotomy (43 percent) or a second-degree tear (24 percent), although 12 percent had an intact perineum. Most (80 percent) had resumed or attempted intercourse by six months after delivery. There was no difference in these rates for vaginal versus cesarean deliveries.

Search for books on cesereans at Powells or Amazon.

Women who had cesarean deliveries were less likely to experience pain during sexual intercourse within three months after delivery than women who had vaginal deliveries. The women who had instrumental deliveries were most likely to experience pain with sexual intercourse. However, by six months, there was no significant difference in sexual functioning between the two groups.

The rates of reported sexual problems were relatively high for both groups (those who delivered vaginally as well as those who delivered by cesarean). For example, 53 percent of women who had a cesarean section reported some pain with sexual intercourse within three months after delivery, whereas 76 percent of women who had a vaginal delivery reported some pain. At six months, these percentages were 39 percent and 44 percent, respectively, and the difference was not statistically significant. Almost half of women in both groups reported some decreased sexual desire or difficulty reaching orgasm six months after delivery.

What this means for you

It appears that both women who deliver vaginally as well as by cesarean frequently have difficulties in sexual functioning including desire, difficulty having orgasm and pain during penetration/intercourse. Women who deliver vaginally, especially if instruments such as forceps are used to assist delivery, are most likely to experience pain with sex within the first three months following delivery. This problem, which is probably directly related to any perineal trauma experienced during delivery, appears to resolve by six months after delivery.

Free Baby Website - Affordable Baby Web Site
FREE safe, secure baby and toddler websites!

Generally, there does not appear to be any benefit to sexual functioning of having a cesarean delivery. At six months after delivery, there were no differences in sexual functioning found between women who had delivered vaginally and those who had cesarean sections.

Source: Barrett, G., et al., December 2005, Cesarean section and postnatal sexual health, Birth, 32, 306-311.

© Jennifer Hahn

Dr. Jennifer Hahn is the editor of The Thinking Parent, a quarterly publication reviewing research of interest to parents: child development and parenting, pregnancy and childbirth, physical health, mental health and education. With more than 12 years of experience in research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Hahn received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and completed her residency at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center. She is the mother of two daughters.

Leave a Comment

Subscribe to NFO's free eNewsletter!

Google ads are not personally selected by our admin team.
Find out more.

Free Baby Website - Affordable Baby Web Site
FREE safe and secure baby & toddler websites!