Couples’ perinatal sexual health and well-being

Over 380,000 Canadian couples become pregnant each year. Of these, 20-68 percent of mothers and 22-45 percent of partners will experience distressing sexual health problems (e.g. low sexual desire, pain) that begin in pregnancy and that may continue up to 12-months postpartum. In turn, poor sexual health has many known consequences for overall health and well-being and is linked with increased use of health services. Yet, most new parents receive no information about sexual health during this period, in part, due to limited knowledge about who is most at risk and a lack of evidence-based interventions to address perinatal sexual health problems. Using a variety of research methods we will:

  1. Identify factors associated with who is most likely to experience perinatal sexual health problems.
  2. Use these factors to pilot a novel couples-based psychological intervention to improve sexual health.

In addition to benefits for couples’ sexual health, this research will also enhance couples’ general well-being, by reducing the psychological and relational burdens during an already vulnerable period. This knowledge will be shared with perinatal healthcare providers in order to improve perinatal healthcare practices.