It’s fairly common for women to experience depression and anxiety symptoms during pregnancy and/or after delivery. In fact, research has shown that approximately 13% of women experience depression during pregnancy or the postpartum period. And about two-thirds of women have some degree of sexual decline in the six months after childbirth. This means that their sex lives have worsened.
Depression and anxiety can lead to a number of sexual problems during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Some women are anxious about hurting the fetus if they have sex while pregnant. Hormonal ups and downs can affect sex drive. Women may have sex less often or take longer to start having sex again after the baby is born. These issues may take a toll on relationships as well.
Researchers have investigated the link between sexual decline and depression/anxiety symptoms (DAS) during pregnancy and the postpartum period. They found that sexual decline was more common in women who had had DAS during both pregnancy and the postpartum period or during the postpartum period only.
Women over 30 and those who had had miscarriages were also at higher risk for sexual decline after delivery.
Any woman who feels she is having difficulties – sexually or emotionally – is advised to see her doctor. Counseling or sex therapy may help her work through her depression, anxiety, and any relationship problems that may result. Medications may also help.