Objective: Despite the high prevalence of dyspareunia, published data focused on childbirth is scarce. This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of dyspareunia in a random primiparae parturient population, characterize their features, and describe associated perinatal outcomes.
Study design: In this prospective observational study we approached primiparous women admitted to our labor ward. Women were asked to complete an interview, based on self-report of dyspareunia symptoms. Obstetrical outcomes were obtained and compared between women with (exposed) and without (controls) dyspareunia. Midwives completed a questionnaire regarding patients' cooperation, pain level, pelvic floor hypertonicity, difficulty with vaginal examinations and perceived anxiety level.
Results: One hundred seventy-three women completed a detailed questionnaire querying dyspareunia symptoms. Of them, 41.6% (n = 72) reported a certain degree of dyspareunia. Exposed women did not differ in demographic or clinical characteristics as compared to controls. Of the exposed group, 40.3% reported primary dyspareunia, 25.4% secondary dyspareunia, and 34.3% could not recall its beginning. Only 34.3% had consulted a practitioner regarding this problem. Rates of vaginal deliveries, vacuum deliveries, and cesarean deliveries were comparable (p = 0.845). There were no differences between the two groups in rates of analgesia usage, epidural anesthesia, episiotomy, and second stage duration. However, the severity of dyspareunia correlated with the incidence of perineal tears (66.7% in patients with severe dyspareunia, and 41.1% in controls, p = 0.011). Logistic regression analysis revealed that dyspareunia was independently associated with perineal tears (p = 0.029). Higher rates of anxiety and pelvic floor hypertonicity were reported in patients reporting severe dyspareunia (≥3/10 times).
Conclusion: Dyspareunia is common among primiparous women, and these patients are more likely to suffer perineal tears and anxiety during delivery.
Keywords: Dyspareunia; Pelvic floor; Perineal tears; Primiparae; Vaginal delivery.
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