Obstetric outcome and emotional reactions to childbirth in women with dyspareunia: A cross-sectional study

Anna Padoa*, Roni Tomashev, Inbal Brenner, Ayelet Golan, May Shir Igawa, Ido Lurie, Yael Reicher, Anat Talmon, Karni Ginzburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To assess obstetrical outcomes, perceptions of childbirth experience and emotional adjustment, in women with dyspareunia.

STUDY DESIGN: In this cross-sectional study, 440 women were recruited within 48 h postpartum in the maternity ward of a large medical center, during the period of April 2018- August 2020. Self-report questionnaires were administered which addressed demographic and reproductive background, dyspareunia, perceptions of control during labor (Labor Agentry Scale), perceived professional support (Intrapartum Care Scale), and maternal adjustment, implicated in perinatal dissociation (Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire), acute stress disorder (ASD) symptoms (Stanford Acute Stress Reaction Questionnaire), bonding (Mother-to-Infant Bonding Scale), anticipated maternal self-efficacy (Maternal Self-Efficacy Scale) and well-being (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale). Obstetrical information was retrieved from clinical files and included pregnancy complications, week and mode of delivery, nature of labor onset, analgesia during delivery, birthweight, perineal tears.

RESULTS: The dyspareunia group included 71 women (18.3%) and the comparison group 317 (81.7%). Demographic data were similar among groups. No difference was observed in nature of labor onset, type of analgesia, route of delivery, perineal tears. More participants with dyspareunia had premature delivery versus comparisons (14.1% vs 5.6%, p = 0.02). Women with dyspareunia reported lower levels of control (p = 0.01) and perceived support during childbirth (p < 0.001), higher levels of perinatal dissociation (p < 0.001) ASD symptoms (p < 0.001), depression (p = 0.02), negative affect (p < 0.001), and reported lower levels of maternal bonding (p < 0.001) and anticipated maternal self-efficacy (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Dyspareunia was associated with more premature deliveries, parameters of emotional distress during childbirth and poorer maternal adjustment following childbirth. Perinatal caregivers should be cognizant of such cognitive and emotional reactions in women with dyspareunia, so as to assess for a history of dyspareunia in pregnant women and provide adequate support during pregnancy and delivery.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Dyspareunia
  • Emotional distress
  • Maternal bonding
  • Obstetric outcome
  • Preterm delivery


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