Sexual Dysfunction and Related Factors among Breast Feeding Women

Document Type : Original Article


1 M.Sc. of midwifery, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.

2 Ph.D. of nursing, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.


Introduction: The transition from pregnancy to postpartum period is associated with changes in sexual function which is considered a psychosocial crisis. Different social, cultural and religious status might be responsible for the various results related to the prevalence and risk factors of sexual dysfunction during postpartum period. Recognizing these problems and making a timely intervention is effective in improving the quality of life. The aim of this study was to assess sexual dysfunction and its related factors among breast feeding women during the first year after child birth.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was done on 528 women in health centers of Ghaemshahr (1387-1388) with cluster random sampling. The inclusion criterion was breastfeeding women who had spent 2 to 12 months of postpartum period, who were not divorced, educated and consented to participate in the study. Those, who had been away from their husband for any reason, lost their baby or suffered from severe physical and psychological diseases, were excluded from the study. The Demographic and midwifery data were assessed with related questionnaires. Sexual function was evaluated with female sexual function index. Data analysis was carried out using descriptive statistics, Chi-square and t-test.
Results: Findings show that nearly half of the women (41.4%) had some degree of sexual dysfunction during the first year after the delivery, which was often mild (30.4%). Severe dysfunction was more common in the first 3 months of postpartum period (71.4%). Dysfunction prevalence decreased to 9 months and then increased slightly (p=0.01). Age, duration of marriage, more parity and children, infant with health problems and fatigue were significantly associated with sexual dysfunction.
Conclusion: The prevalence of sexual dysfunction in postpartum period is more than the general population of women. Dysfunction is more common during the first 3 months and between 9 to 12 months of postpartum period. Since most women do not go to health centers for their problems, health providers must be aware of silent epidemiology of dysfunction and its risk factors to be able to provide preventive, therapeutic and counseling measures for females.


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