Sexuality among pregnant women in South West Nigeria

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2002 Mar;22(2):166-8. doi: 10.1080/01443610120113319.


The sexual activity of 500 pregnant women in Ilesa, Nigeria was investigated in a prospective study carried out at the antenatal clinic of the Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa between December 1999 and September 2000. While the sexual desire in pregnancy of most of the women (60%) remains the same as in the non-pregnant state, coital frequency was reduced in majority of them (64%). The reasons given by the respondents for reduced sexual activity include nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy (30%), fear of miscarriage (12%), fear of harming the fetus (12%), physical awkwardness (20%), lack of interest (10%), discomfort (6%), fear of membrane rupture (8%), fear of infection (8%) and fatigue (10%). Coital frequency, however, remained the same in 32% and increased in 4% of the women. The reasons for this include: "it helps to keep the husband around" (3%), maintain marital harmony (20%), satisfying (16%) and will facilitate labour in late pregnancy (6%). The findings from this study suggest a mixed-feeling effect with a tilt towards a positive attitude to sexuality in pregnancy. The health professional should favour the complete enjoyment of sexual activity during pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Coitus / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Nigeria
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sexuality / psychology*
  • Sexuality / statistics & numerical data