„You stop thinking about yourself as a woman' An interpretive phenomenological study of the meaning of sexuality for Icelandic women during pregnancy and after delivery
ESC Congress Library. Bender S. 05/10/18; 208227; ESC110
Prof. Sóley Bender
Prof. Sóley Bender
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Objectives: There exists considerable evidence about reduced sexual desire and sexual disorders during pregnancy and after delivery. More in-depth qualitative evidence is needed to understand better the changes of sexuality taken place at this transitional time. The purpose of this study was to find out how Icelandic women experienced their sexuality during pregnancy and after delivery.                                                                                                                Design and methods: An interpretive phenomenological study based on individual interviews with eight women was carried out at two time ponts, 6 and 12 months after delivery, totaling 16 interviews. Women who had delivered at the University Hospital were selected for the study through purposeful sampling. The interviews were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim. The text was analysed by using interpretive phenomenology.                                                                       Results: Changes during pregnancy and the post-partum period affected how the women perceived themselves as a sexual being. They expressed great need for physical and emotional intimacy during this time. Their needs for physical intimacy did not necessarily include the desire for sexual intercourse. How well their needs were met by their partner depended apparently on how intimate their relationship was. The relationship either tilted towards balance or imbalance, more towards balance when intimacy needs were taken care of. Communication, being emotionally close to the partner and how the partner showed consideration played a great role in their sexual relationship.                                                                                                                                             Conclusions: Health care professionals, especially midwives and nurses, could contribute to the balance in the relationship through the provision of evidence-based information about normal changes in sexual behavior during the childbearing process and by discussing intimacy issues. The partner may need this information as much as the woman.  
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