-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Most first-time mothers
wait more than six weeks after childbirth before having sex again,
a new study finds.
Australian researchers examined data from more than 1,500 women
and found that 41 percent of these new mothers attempted vaginal
sex by six weeks after giving birth, 65 percent by eight weeks, 78
percent by 12 weeks and 94 percent by six months.
Although most of the women waited longer before having vaginal
sex, 53 percent of them resumed some form of sexual activity within
six weeks, according to the study, which was published Feb. 27 in
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and
Women aged 30 to 34 were much less likely than those aged 18 to
24 to resume vaginal sex by six weeks after giving birth: 40
percent versus 63 percent.
Women who had a cesarean section, a birth assisted with forceps
or an episiotomy or sutured tear also were less likely to have
resumed vaginal sex by six weeks after birth. The rates were 45
percent for those who had a C-section, 32 percent for those who had
a forceps-assisted birth, 32 percent for those who had an
episiotomy and 35 percent for those who had a sutured tear. In
comparison, 60 percent of women who had spontaneous vaginal birth
with intact perineum resumed sex within six weeks.
Only about 10 percent of first-time mothers will have a vaginal
birth and an intact perineum, according to the study, so it's
reasonable for most women and their partners to expect a delay in
resuming vaginal sex, the researchers said.
"The most important finding from the study is the wide time interval over which couples resume sex after childbirth," study lead author Stephanie Brown, an associate professor at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Victoria, said in a journal news release. "Most couples do not resume sex until after six to eight weeks postpartum, and many delay much longer than this."
"This is useful information for couples to know before their baby is born, and may help reduce feelings of anxiety and guilt about not resuming sexual activity sooner," she said.
John Thorp, the journal's deputy editor-in-chief, said in the
news release: "It is very common for women and their partners to
want information about when sexual activity may be safely and
comfortably resumed, and what to expect in relation to the impact
of childbirth on their relationship."
"It is important to remember that these decisions are down to the individual couple and when it feels right for them," he said.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives has more about
recovering from pregnancy.
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