AIMS Medical Science, 2019, 6(4): 296-317. doi: 10.3934/medsci.2019.4.296

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Sexual health and its related factors among Iranian pregnant women: A review study

1 Student Research Committee, Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 Department of Biostatistics, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4 Department of Midwifery and Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

Introduction: Sexual health is an important dimension of health. Pregnancy is a critical stage in women’s lives and can affect couples’ sexual health and matrimonial life due to physiological, anatomical and psychological changes in pregnancy. This review was conducted on Iranian studies to assess sexual health dimensions and influencing factors in Iranian pregnant women. Methods: This narrative review was carried out by performing a search in Iranian scientific articles published between 2000 and 2018, which considered the dimensions of sexual. Electronic databases including Magiran, Scientific information database (SID), web of science, PubMed, Scopus, and google scholar search engine were searched using the following keywords; sexual health, awareness, belief, attitude, sexual activity, sexual violence, prenatal, pregnancy, and pregnant women. Full text cross-sectional or cohort articles in Persian or English that were related to the field of sexual health of Iranian pregnant women were included in the review. Results: Among the initially identified 1383 articles, 63 met the inclusion criteria. Sexual health of pregnant women was examined and categorized into awareness, attitude, belief-activity, performance-satisfaction, quality of sexual life-sexual violence domains. Majority of studies assessed sexual violence (33 studies), followed by sexual function (24 studies), sexual satisfaction and quality of life (4 studies), and knowledge and attitudes about sexuality in pregnancy (4 studies). Main Conclusion: The review of published studies revealed that the level of awareness and attitude of Iranian pregnant women about sexual activity was low, while the level of sexual dysfunction and sexual violence in pregnancy was high. Therefore, the quality of purposeful care and counseling that have been provided hitherto in order to maintain and improve sexual health during pregnancy and even before pregnancy, should be improved. Further longitudinal and meta-analytic studies on the dimensions of sexual health, including sexual activity and sexual satisfaction are recommended.
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