Sexual practices in pregnant women belonging to low socio-economic status at a tertiary care hospital in New Delhi, India

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Original Article

Author :

Chanda Rai, Ananya Banerjee, Manisha Meena

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Abstract :

Introduction: Sexual changes in pregnancy remains a rarely discussed topic here in India because of social taboos and the embarrassment couples face in discussing these issues. Aim: To highlight the sexual changes that take place in all three trimesters of pregnancy and to evaluate the various factors which influence it. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in the department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at VMMC & Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.. Two hundred and five consenting women were asked open end questions about their sexual health and variation in the different trimesters. Women with complications like any bleeding or leaking in pregnancy were excluded from the study. Factors affecting their sexual life were taken into account. Data was summarized using descriptive statistics and analysed in SPSS software. Results: Our study showed a decline in the frequency of sexual activity by the third trimester with the percentage of women engaging in sexual activities in the first, second and third trimester being 36.6%, 43.9% and 6.3% respectively. Around 9.8% women totally refrained from coitus throughout pregnancy. Libido was found to decrease in 38% of women. The prohibiting factors for coitus included the risk of preterm labour, bleeding and chances of infection to the baby. None of these couple thought of seeking a health professional’s advise for their sexual problems. Conclusion: Counselling for sexual health must be initiated by the health workers as it will help couples who are embarrassed to discuss these issues owing to the social and cultural norms. This will help to bridge the communication barrier and will be instrumental to a healthy sexual life of married couples who are expecting a child. Key Messages: Sexual health in pregnant women largely remains a less discussed topic. There is a decline in coital frequency during pregnancy. There are many factors like fear of harming of the fetus which women do not discuss with their health-care providers.

Keyword :

 Sex in pregnancy, Coitus in married couples, Sexual health.
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