Sexual activity during pregnancy.

OBJECTIVE: Pregnancy is usually associated with significant regression in genito-genital intercourse frequency, sexual desire and satisfaction. The aim of the study was to determine women's sexual habits during the third trimester of gestation and to compare their sexual activity before the current pregnancy and during previous pregnancies in case of multiparas.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study material consisted of women in the third trimester of pregnancy, recruited from the Outpatient Clinic of the 1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Warsaw between January 2013 and February 2014, who filled out a self-prepared questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of three parts: demographic data, sexual activity prior to current pregnancy and during gestation, including sexual positions and sources of knowledge regarding the subject. The survey involved 25 questions and was distributed among 220 patients, out of which 165 were returned and 149 properly filled out and analyzed.

RESULTS: The average age of the respondents was 29.6 ± 4.85 years; the majority (78.8%) were in an uncomplicated pregnancy. The decrease in sexual activity was evident in all age groups--the majority usually had sex 1 to 3 times a month in contrast to 1-2 times a week prior to conceiving. Sexual activity decreased significantly with increasing age. The main reasons for abandoning sexual activity included: decreased libido (35.5%), the doctor's suggestion (29%) and fears concerning child's health (29%). During pregnancy the frequency of vaginal intercourse significantly decreased (100% prior to vs. 86.6% during pregnancy; p < 0.001); as did oral sex (44.3% vs. 29.5%; p = 0.043) and anal sex (12% vs. 5.4%; p = 0.02). 54% of the respondents declared reduced satisfaction with sexual life during pregnancy in comparison with the previous period; almost half (43.5%) felt less attractive while pregnant. The same claim was related to libido--it decreased in 58.8% of respondents. Multiparas tended to have sexual intercourses less often in consecutive pregnancies (41.2%) or with an equal frequency (35.3%). The main source of knowledge about sexual life during pregnancy listed by women included internet and other media (63.5%), while medical staff was mentioned by 30%.

CONCLUSIONS: Sexual activity decreases during gestation, however, it often result from an increased fear for the child and lack of possibilities to confront and broaden the knowledge on this subject. The role of medical staff in consulting sexual activity problems is insufficient.

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