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Table 1 Studies on positive postpartum sexual health (n = 5)

From: A scoping review on women’s sexual health in the postpartum period: opportunities for research and practice within low-and middle-income countries

Author (Year) Location and study design Objective(s) Study population Specific topic(s) Key results
Anharan et al. (2015) [25] Iran—
Cross-sectional
To assess postpartum sexual function in mothers using different infant feeding methods 366 women referred to health centers in Mashhad; women who were receiving postpartum care, child growth monitoring, immunization, and family planning counseling 4 months after childbirth Libido, Satisfaction, stimulation, Orgasm – The mean total score of sexual function varied significantly between groups participating in different infant feeding methods (p = 0.04)
– The exclusive breastfeeding group had the highest mean score for total sexual function, followed by the breastfeeding plus complementary feeding group, then by formula only, and lastly by breastfeeding plus formula
– The four groups were also significantly different in terms of mean lubrication (p = 0.01) and satisfaction scores (p = 0.01); they were not significantly different in terms of desire, arousal, orgasm, or pain mean scores
Golmakani et al. (2015) [26] Iran—
Clinical Trial
To define the effects of an 8-week pelvic floor muscle exercise program on sexual self-efficacy in primiparous women after childbirth 79 primiparous women who were referred to health care centers in Mashhad, Iran in 2013, 8 weeks after delivery, to receive health care services Pelvic floor muscle strength, Sexual self-efficacy – Pelvic floor strength increased significantly among the intervention group only at 4 and 8 weeks after exercises (p < 0.001)
– Pelvic floor muscle scores at 8 weeks were significantly different between the control and intervention groups (p < 0.001)
– Sexual self-efficacy scores increased significantly for both the intervention (p < 0.001) and control (p = 0.001) groups at 4 and 8 weeks after the study. Sexual self-efficacy scores at 8 weeks were significantly different between the control and intervention groups (p = 0.001)
Mirzaei et al. (2021) [27] Iran—
Cross-sectional
To assess the impact of COVID-19 on psychological health, sexual function, and quality of life (QoL) in Iranian pregnant and lactating women and compare the results with non-pregnant/non-lactating women 604 pregnant and lactating women and non-pregnant/non-lactating women; May–June 2020 FSFI score items (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain) – When comparing pregnant and lactating women, Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) scores did not differ significantly for any sexual function domain. Total FSFI scores for pregnant and lactating women were nearly equivalent
– When comparing lactating women with those neither lactating nor pregnant, FSFI scores for the following domains differed significantly: desire (p < 0.001), arousal (p < 0.001), orgasm (p = 0.007), and pain (p < 0.001)
– The total FSFI score for lactating women was significantly lower than for those neither lactating nor pregnant (22.72 and 26.19 respectively; p < 0.001)
– Among the lactating and pregnant women, 37% report sexual dysfunction related to lubrication, compared to 54% of women neither pregnant nor lactating (p < 0.001)
Nezhad & Goodarzi (2011) [28] Iran—
Cross-sectional
To gain insight regarding the perceptions of intimacy and sexuality held by postpartum couples, and the relationships of perceived sexuality, and intimacy levels on postpartum marital satisfaction 128 postpartum married couples of Ahvaz, Iran (6–36 weeks postpartum) obtained through cluster random sampling with the help of childbirth centers Sexuality, Sexual satisfaction, Intimacy – Most (91%) of the female participants reported that they felt healed by 8 weeks after delivery
– Gender was significantly associated with sexuality, with the male participants reporting a higher level of sexuality than the female participants, but was not significantly associated with sexual satisfaction, intimacy, or marital satisfaction
– Among participants, when total intimacy and sexual satisfaction are both high, marital satisfaction was also high for 100% of participants, vs. 68% when intimacy was high and sexual satisfaction was low (p = 0.006). Among participants with low total intimacy and high sexual satisfaction, marital satisfaction was still high
– These correlations were identified in both couple and individual data and suggest that having a high level of intimacy may buffer the negative effect that low sexual satisfaction can have on marital satisfaction
– Results also indicate thatwomen's satisfaction with their appearance is positively correlated with sexuality (p < 0.001) and that fatigue and sexuality are negatively correlated (p < 0.001)
Zamani et al. (2019) [29] Iran—Clinical Trial To investigate the effectiveness of sexual health counseling on woman's sexual satisfaction in the postpartum period 80 Iranian postnatal women (aged 18–35) who attended health-care centers 3 months to 1 year after childbirth in Mashhad, Iran in 2016 Sexual satisfaction – At baseline, sexual satisfaction scores did not differ significantly between the intervention group and control group 8 weeks after the intervention; however, sexual satisfaction was significantly higher in the intervention group (p = 0.03)
– Pre- and post-test sexual satisfaction scores differed significantly in the intervention group only (p < 0.001)