Postpartum female sexual function

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2009 Aug;145(2):133-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2009.04.014. Epub 2009 May 29.


Although many women experience sexual problems in the postpartum period, research in this subject is under-explored. Embarrassment and preoccupation with the newborn are some of the reasons why many women do not seek help. Furthermore, there is a lack of professional awareness and expertise and recognition that a prerequisite in the definition of sexual dysfunction is that it must cause distress to the individual (not her partner). Sexual dysfunction is classified as disorders of sexual desire, arousal, orgasm and pain. However, in the postpartum period the most common disorder appears to be that of sexual pain as a consequence of perineal trauma. Health care workers need to be made aware of this silent affliction as sexual morbidity can have a detrimental effect on a women's quality of life impacting on her social, physical and emotional well-being.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arousal
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Cesarean Section
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Libido
  • Pain
  • Parturition
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / psychology*