Postpartum sexual quality of life
Development and validation of an instrument to assess sexual quality of life after childbirth in Iran and in Switzerland
The process of giving birth, which is most often perceived as overwhelming but at times also stressful, can negatively impact female sexual quality of life and in turn affect the couple’s health and well-being and consequently put a strain on their partnership. Postpartum sexual quality of life is not well researched. Hence the current project aims at gaining an insight into the most important factors related to sexual quality of life of first-time mothers in Iran and in Switzerland, on the one hand, and to develop and validate the Iranian version of an instrument to assess postpartum sexual quality of life, on the other hand.
Postpartum can be a vulnerable period for women. It may be that they experience impairments in their quality of life in which sexuality plays an important role. Complications during birth, breastfeeding, together with partnership issues may, for example, negatively influence their sexuality and sexual quality of life. Sexual dysfunctions are therefore among some of the more common problems which occur frequently after childbirth. They can impair health and cause additional strain on a partnership. So far, little research on postpartum sexual quality of life has been conducted despite the fact that a greater awareness of the aspects surrounding postpartum sexual quality of life could lead to the development of support measures to improve postpartum sexual quality of life.
This study aims to investigate postpartum sexual quality of life in Iranian and Swiss women and to develop and validate the Iranian version of a standardised instrument, the «Postpartum Sexual Quality of Life scale».
The project consists of an exploratory, two-phase study using a mixed methods study design:
- Phase one of the study consisted of collecting qualitative data by means of individual interviews and focus group discussions with 24 Iranian and 13 Swiss mothers three months after the birth of their first child and then performing a content analysis. Analyses were first conducted with the Iranian data set. The Iranian coding system was then applied to the Swiss data set to look for potential new influencing factors and differences.
- More data was collected by means of a comprehensive literature review. The data was then used to generate an initial item pool together with the findings from the Iranian and Swiss qualitative interviews and led to the development of a preliminary version of the Iranian instrument. This preliminary instrument is currently tested in approx. 250 Iranian women in Tehran. Reliability (Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and test-retest reliability) and validity (visual, content and construct validity) of the tool will be evaluated. A definitive Iranian version of the instrument will be created after item reduction.
Relevance of the study
The research results will provide a deeper insight into the postpartum sexual quality of life of couples in two different countries and cultures and make available the Iranian version of a corresponding assessment instrument for use in a larger sample so as to help affected women by developing measures to support them. Follow-up research projects are planned that include the application of the definitive Iranian instrument in a larger sample as well as the translation into German and validation of the «Postpartum Sexual Quality of Life scale» for use in in Switzerland.
- Project lead
Susanne Grylka, MSc, PhD
- Project partner
Dr. Azam Rahmani, Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Teheran University of Medical Science TUMS, Iran
- Project time
15.11.2018 - 14.11.2019
- Founding partner
The project has been enabled by a Seed Money Grant.
- Project status