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Sex after postpartum depression

Does a woman’s psychological health during pregnancy influence her sexual life later on?

The period of pregnancy and postpartum are often accompanied by feelings of sadness or anxiety. A relative study investigated the impact of these symptoms on the sexual life of the woman up to 18 months after childbirth.

Anxiety / depression symptoms during pregnancy or only during the postpartum nearly quadrupled the likelihood of reporting a significant drop in their the sexual life up to 18 months after birth.

In addition, an experience of a previous miscarriage was an independent predictive factor of lower satisfaction from sexual life.

How are anxiety / depression symptoms associated with sexual activity?

Anxiety and depression are strong predictors for the occurrence of problems of sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain during sexual intercourse.

The close relationship between mental health and sexual health concerns all women regardless of the period of life they are in. Moreover, the period of pregnancy and postpartum are often a difficult time for women, not only because of the hormonal changes that occur, but also because changes in the lifestyle and in the body image, fatigue and sleep disturbances commonly accompany this period.

The above study is important because it highlights the significance of providing therapeutic assistance to women who have mood problems during pregnancy and postpartum.

Early treatment of anxiety / depression symptoms may not only prevent a significant fall in their sexual life, but can also help maintain mental health and quality of life .

Faisal-Cury A, Huang H, Chan YF et al. (2013) The relationship between depressive / anxiety symptoms during pregnancy / postpartum and sexual life decline after delivery. J Sex Med 10: 1343-1349.


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