Childbirth not major contributor to sexual dysfunction in women later in life

Childbirth is not a major contributor to sexual dysfunction in women later in life, according to a new study led by UC San Francisco researchers.

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 cesarean 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 controlled for women's age, race or ethnicity, partner status, general health status, and diabetes status. They detected no significant associations between women's childbirth history and their likelihood of reporting low sexual desire, less than monthly sexual activity, or low overall sexual satisfaction later in life.

"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, " said senior author Alison Huang, MD, MAS, assistant professor of medicine, UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine. "Instead, discussions between women and their doctors should be focused on other health and contextual factors that may influence sexual activity later in life."

SOURCE UC San Francisco

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