Sexual function in the postpartum period: Effects of maternal depression and interpersonal psychotherapy treatment
Archives of Women's Mental Health,  Clinical Article

Moel JE et al. – The goals of this study were to examine factors associated with the sexual functioning of postpartum women and to compare the long-term sexual functioning of depressed postpartum women treated with interpersonal psychotherapy with a group of postpartum women who had never been depressed. The findings of this study suggest that differences in sexual functioning exist between depressed and never depressed postpartum women, even after depressed women are treated and have recovered from their depression. Clinicians should inquire about changes in sexual functioning when treating women with PPD.


  • Depressed (120) and never depressed (56) postpartum women were enrolled
  • Self-report questionnaires and clinician-rated measures were completed at initial entry to study, immediately post-treatment, and at 6, 12, and 18 months post-treatment

  • Analyses revealed significant differences in sexual interest between depressed and never depressed postpartum women (t (171)=11.82, p< 0.001)
  • Although sexual interest improved significantly following treatment for depression (t (104)=3.18, p< 0.01), those women who fully recovered continued to experience less interest (F (2, 140)=32.24, p< 0.0001) and less sexual satisfaction through 2 years postpartum than never depressed women

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