Postpartum is considered as one of the most vulnerable and stressful periods for women. Changes in physical appearance after pregnancy and childbirth could result in attitudinal changes of women towards their body and subsequently disorders in women’s sexual behavior.
Regarding the effect of pregnancy and childbirth on sexual function and the body image of women, this study aims to assess the effect of body image satisfaction on sexual function of Iranian women referring to Health Care Center of Zanjan city after child birth.
This cross-sectional study was conducted on 420 mothers who had referred to health care centers affiliated to Zanjan University of Medical Sciences between 2018-19. A checklist including questions about demographic and reproductive information, Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and the Multidimensional Body–Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) were filled up for all of the participants. The data were analyzed by SPSS 16 software through using the Pearson correlation coefficient.
A positive relationship was observed between body image satisfaction and sexual function (SF) of women (r=0.23, p<0.001). The participating women’s BMI (r=0.27, p<0.001), marriage duration (r=0.11, p<0.05) and their age (r=0.28, p<0.001) were associated with their body image satisfaction. The levels of body image satisfaction showed significant difference between women with and without sexual dysfunction (p=0.008).
Women experience changes in SF and body image during the postpartum period. Changes in women’s SF can leave negative impact on women’s family relationship. Therefore, in that period, women need breastfeeding and nutritional support as well as psychosocial support with regards to their body image. As a strategy, health care providers are recommended to pay more attention to women’s mental and sexual issues while offering postpartum routine checks.
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