Iranian Women's Sexual Experience after Childbirth: a Mixed Method Explanatory Sequential Study
Background: Women have different experiences after childbirth. Emotional and social changes may change their sexual and communicative needs. This study aimed to determine and discover women's sexual function experiences after childbirth.
Methods: The present study was done in a mixed paradigm with a sequential explanatory approach. In the first phase, a descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the women’s sexual function after childbirth. In the second phase, using the qualitative approach and semi-structured interviews, the sexual function after childbirth was explained. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive methods, and in the qualitative stage, the conventional content analysis method was used.
Results: In the quantitative phase of the study, more than half of the women (56.7%) reported some degree of sexual dysfunction at 3–6 months after childbirth. The qualitative findings revealed that women's experiences were affected by individual, family, social, and cultural factors. Individual factors included physical and psychological domains; family factors included husband and interpersonal communication; social factors comprised of the socioeconomic situation and sexual management in the postpartum period; the cultural factor was the adherence to the cultural norms.
Conclusions: The present study showed that a mixed method explanatory sequential study could be used for better understanding of women's experience of sexual function after childbirth. The results of this study can be used in health research, education, policy-making, and planning related to women’s sexual health.