Investigation of Sexual Distress in Pregnant Women: A Turkish Multi-center Study

Koç E., Baltacı N., Yüksekol Ö., Gürel R., Ulucan M.

Sexuality Research and Social Policy, vol.21, no.2, pp.667-675, 2024 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s13178-023-00890-4
  • Journal Name: Sexuality Research and Social Policy
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ASSIA, IBZ Online, CAB Abstracts, PAIS International, Psycinfo, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.667-675
  • Keywords: Midwives, Nurses, Pregnancy, Sexual distress, Sexuality
  • Yozgat Bozok University Affiliated: No


Introduction: During pregnancy, sexual distress is common, but its prevalence and underlying factors require elucidation. This study was performed to investigate sexual distress in pregnant women. Methods: This research was designed as a descriptive and multi-center study. The study included 2365 pregnant women from 6 geographical regions of Turkey between April 1, 2022, and February 1, 2023. Data was collected using the “Pregnant Information Form” and “Female Sexual Distress Scale-Revised (FDS-R).” Descriptive statistics, independent sample t-test, analysis of variance, and the Pearson correlation test were used for data analysis. Results: Herein, 46.1% of pregnant women experienced sexual distress, and the mean FDS-R score of the study participants was 14.49. Participants who were dissatisfied with their sexual life before and during pregnancy (p < 0.001), those who did not have sexual intercourse during pregnancy (p < 0.001), those who experienced decreased sexual desire during pregnancy (p < 0.001), those who did not receive sexual education during pregnancy (p < 0.001), and those who experienced problems when engaging in sexual intercourse during pregnancy (p < 0.001) experienced more sexual distress. Sexual distress increased when the mean age and the number of pregnancies and children increased, whereas it decreased when the gestational week increased. Conclusions: Approximately half of the pregnant women included in the study experienced sexual distress. The findings highlight the importance of midwives and nurses encouraging pregnant women to discuss their sexuality. Policy implications: The findings of this study show that sexual distress during pregnancy is common and affected by some factors related to personal and sexual life during pregnancy. This result provides evidence of the need to develop culturally appropriate interventions and policies that include sexual partners in the context of improving pregnant women's sexual distress, sexual health, good family relationships and mental health.