Sexuality in Women of Childbearing Age

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Women of childbearing age have health-care needs related to sexuality. The health-care needs that are most obvious are the need for contraception and the need for the prevention and treatment of vaginal and sexually transmitted infections. Although providers may have questions related to sexual activity, sexual orientation, sexual practices, sexual satisfaction, and intimate partner violence on patient history forms, they often offer little discussion on issues related to sexuality unless the patient raises the issues. Women's sexuality is intensely personal and individual. Changes may occur in sexuality during pregnancy or as a response to infertility. These changes may be physical or emotional. During her prepregnancy and prenatal care, a woman may meet with a range of health-care providers, including childbirth educators, lactation consultants, nurses, midwives, and physicians. It is within the scope of practice of each of these clinicians to address sexuality concerns, validate women's feelings, and provide suggestions of modifications in sexual practices to meet women's needs for sexual expression within the range of activities that are safe and acceptable.

Keywords: addressing sexuality concerns; sexuality during infertility; sexuality during pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2006

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