Risk Factors for Dyspareunia After First Childbirth

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate risk factors for dyspareunia among primiparous women.

METHODS:

This was a planned secondary analysis using data from the 1- and 6-month postpartum interviews of a prospective study of women who delivered their first neonate in Pennsylvania, 2009–2011. Participants who had resumed sexual intercourse by the 6-month interview (N=2,748) constituted the analytic sample. Women reporting a big or medium problem with painful intercourse at 6 months were categorized as having dyspareunia. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the effect of patient characteristics, obstetric and psychosocial factors, and breastfeeding on dyspareunia.

RESULTS:

There were 583 women (21.2%) who reported dyspareunia at 6 months postpartum. Nearly one third of those breastfeeding at 6 months reported dyspareunia (31.5%) compared with 12.7% of those not breastfeeding (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 2.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.33–3.59, P<.001); 32.5% of those reporting a big or medium problem with perineal pain at 1 month reported dyspareunia at 6 months compared with 15.9% of those who did not (adjusted OR 2.45, 95% CI 1.93–3.10, P<.001); 28.3% of women who reported fatigue all or most of the time at 1 month reported dyspareunia at 6 months compared with 18.0% of those who reported fatigue less often (adjusted OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.30–1.98, P<.001); and 24.1% of those who scored in the upper third on the stress scale at 1 month reported dyspareunia at 6 months postpartum compared with 15.6% of those who scored in the lowest third (adjusted OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.18–2.02, P=.001).

CONCLUSION:

In this prospective cohort study, we identified specific risk factors for dyspareunia in primiparous women that can be discussed at the first postpartum visit, including breastfeeding, perineal pain, fatigue, and stress.

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