Pelvic pain and mode of delivery

Joan L. Blomquist, Kelly McDermott, Victoria L. Handa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective We sought to determine the long-term effect of mode of delivery on the prevalence and severity of pelvic pain. Study Design Six to eleven years after a first delivery, pelvic pain (dysmenorrhea, dyspareunia, and pelvic pain not related to menses or intercourse) was measured using the Oxfordshire Women's Health Study Questionnaire. Obstetrical exposures were assessed by review of the hospital delivery record. The prevalence of moderate to severe pelvic pain was compared between the 577 women who delivered via cesarean for all births and the 538 who delivered at least 1 child vaginally. Other obstetrical exposures were also studied. Results Prevalence of pelvic pain was similar between women who delivered vaginally and by cesarean. Among women who delivered vaginally, those who experienced at least 1 forceps delivery and women who delivered at least 1 baby ≥4 kg vaginally reported a higher rate of dyspareunia. Perineal trauma was not associated with dyspareunia. Conclusion Forceps delivery and a vaginal delivery of a baby ≥4 kg are associated with dyspareunia 6-11 years after vaginal birth. Vaginal birth is not associated with a higher rate of pelvic pain when compared to cesarean delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423.e1-423.e6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • dysmenorrhea
  • dyspareunia
  • mode of delivery
  • pelvic pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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