oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Sexual activity during pregnancy : a questionnaire-based study : original research

Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



The objective of the study was to determine changes in frequency of sexual activity during pregnancy. A prospective study was conducted using a structured questionnaire to interview 611 healthy pregnant women at a regional hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Five hundred and fifty-six (91.0 %) of the 611 women were sexually active during pregnancy. Sexual desire was increased in 102 (18%), decreased in 299 (40%) and was unchanged in 210 (34%). Four hundred and twenty-two (69%) engaged in sexual activity until the third trimester of pregnancy. Three hundred and seventy-nine (62%) used condoms. The majority (63%) found it easier to discuss the topic of sexual activity with midwives rather than with doctors. One hundred and thirty-eight (23%) experienced adverse events attributed to sexual intercourse during pregnancy. Religious and traditional practices played a minor role in guiding the practice of sexual activity during pregnancy. Twenty-eight (5%) of the 611 women were guided by religious rules while 27 (4%) were guided by traditional rules. Our findings confirm that sexual activity is commonly practised in pregnancy. Given the high HIV rates and sexually transmitted infections in the local population, this has important implications for information provided during antenatal care.

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