10/09/2013 06:13 pm ET Updated Oct 09, 2013

Childbirth Does Not Cause Sexual Dysfunction, Says Study


Sexual dysfunction is not a long-term result of childbirth, a University of California, San Francisco study reports.

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, is one of the only researches that examines women’s sexual function more than two years after giving birth. Researchers found no notable link between a woman’s childbirth history and low sexual desire, less than monthly sexual desire and overall sexual dissatisfaction later in life.

A UCSF press release noted that because past studies have suggested that vaginal delivery has a short-term negative effect on sexual function, more women have been requesting caesarean sections without medical cause.

“These findings provide reassuring evidence for women, who have had or are planning to have children, that neither the total number of deliveries nor type of delivery is likely to have a substantial long-term detrimental effect on their sexual function,” the study’s senior author Alison Huang said. “Instead, discussions between women and their doctors should be focused on other health and contextual factors that may influence sexual activity later in life.”

While caesareans can be a lifesaver when necessary, they carry a higher risk of infection and blood loss and a longer recovery time.

Therapists say busy new mothers may experience a lessened sexual desire for reasons unrelated to the birthing process.



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