Mother giving birth to a baby. Newborn baby in delivery room. Mom holding her new born child after labor. Female pregnant patient in a modern hospital. Parent and infant first moments of bonding.

Childbirth shouldn’t hinder your future sexual enjoyment and satisfaction, no matter the method by which your baby was delivered, according to a new study led by researchers from the University of Bristol and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The study published in the journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology found that women who delivered via cesarean section or delivered vaginally could still enjoy sex years following childbirth. 

Researchers worked to investigate whether cesarean section maintains sexual well-being compared to vaginal delivery due to the lowered risk of genital damage. Prior studies have suggested that there are slight changes in sexual outcomes six months after giving birth when comparing cesarean section with vaginal deliveries. However, studies on the postpartum period’s long-term evidence are lacking.

Importantly, this is the first-ever study of its kind to investigate the link between the mode of delivery and sexual satisfaction beyond the early days following childbirth. 

The study authors arrived at this conclusion after analyzing data from the Children of the 90s involving over 10,000 women followed up to two decades. Findings from this study shed light on the debate surrounding the effect of cesarean section on the sexual well-being of the mother.

Study Methodology

Study lead author, Florence Z. Martins along with the research team analyzed a total of 10,324 women up to 18 years post-partum who delivered via either cesarean section or vaginal delivery. They took into account the women’s sex-related outcomes after delivery including their sexual enjoyment, frequency, and sex-related pain to examine all outcomes at different time points: 33 months, 5, 12, and 18 years post-birth.

What did the Study Reveal?

During the 18 years post birth follow-up period, the researchers noted that there were no differences in sexual enjoyment and frequency as they were found to remain stable all through the different time points.

However, they did discover an increase in chances of pain in the vagina 11 years after childbirth for women who delivered via cesarean section when compared to women who delivered through vaginal birth.

Rates of the cesarean section have been rising dramatically over the last 20 years, increasing worldwide from 7 percent in 1990 to 19 percent in 2014. According to the study authors, the results from this study demonstrate that regardless of the way your baby is delivered, sexual enjoyment or frequency stays unaffected. And contrary to previous studies, this study suggests that a cesarean section may not help shield one against sexual dysfunction.

Above all, this study goes further to highlight the long-term maternal well-being outcomes associated with cesarean section and has likewise paved the way for more research to be done along the line.

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