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Sexual function in the post-partum period

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JOCELYN HAS BEEN FEATURED ON:

Regaining libido in the post-partum period is certainly a hot topic – whether or not it’s openly discussed between partners or with their care providers. Resuming physical intimacy is not typically achieved at the magical “6-week check-in,” but more often lags throughout the first 6-months post-partum, which can potentially be challenging for all parties involved.

The reasons for the continued decline in libido post-partum are multi-faceted – including hormonal changes, exhaustion, and generally feeling “touched out.” But a 2018 Australian study has drawn some new connections to help clarify:

1)   As many women have claimed for decades, higher partner support predicts higher female sexual functioning (i.e., doing extra help around the house does indeed count as foreplay for post-partum women).

2)   Peri-natal depression predicts lower levels of sexual functioning, regardless of anti-depressant use (i.e., noting the impact of depression on sexual functioning – so both Mom and her partner understand – should be a key part of post-partum care).

3)   Breast-feeding did contribute to lower sexual functioning at 6 months, but not afterward (i.e. during the more intensive months of breast-feeding, when hormones would be more affected, a post-partum woman is more likely to have a lack of libido)

Libido and sexual functioning post-partum is a sensitive but highly important discussion for care providers to initiate with new mothers and their partners, so that all sides understand the various complex issues at play.

I hope you have found this helpful, and do let me know if you have any questions!

If you are hungry for more evidence-based information in your pregnancy, sign up for my free webinar: 7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked – and get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy and a thriving baby.

And if you are a care-provider looking for evidence-based resources for your pregnant patients, please get in touch with us at support@myhealthypregnancyplan.com.

In health,

Dr Jocelyn Land-Murphy, ND

Terra Life

Disclaimer: The information and content provided is for general educational and informational purposes only and is not professional medical advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute therefore. Please consult the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for full details.

References:

Galbally, M. et al. (2018). Depression across pregnancy and the postpartum, antidepressant use and the association with female sexual function. Psychological Function, 2018.

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