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Sexual Function in Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes


Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are more likely to have sexual problems than non-diabetic pregnant women, a recent study reports.

It’s not unusual for pregnant women to experience some sexual difficulties, especially with the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy. Pregnant women may also feel fatigued or anxious about how sex will affect the fetus.

However, sexual issues appear to be even more common among women with gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman has high blood sugar during pregnancy. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 18% of pregnant women have gestational diabetes.

To learn more about gestational diabetes and sexual function, Brazilian researchers recruited 88 pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 40. Thirty-three women had gestational diabetes. The remaining 55 women did not. They were considered to have “low-risk pregnancy.” All of the women were in their second trimester.

The researchers took blood sugar readings for each woman. They also asked each participant to complete a questionnaire called the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). This questionnaire assesses six areas of women’s sexuality: desire, excitement, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain/discomfort. The more sexual issues a woman has, the lower her FSFI score will be.

After reviewing the data, the researchers found that about 67% of the diabetic women had sexual problems, compared to 39% of the women with low risk pregnancy.

The researchers weren’t sure exactly why this was the case. It’s possible that the women with gestational diabetes felt more stress and anxiety over their diagnosis, leading to sexual problems. But more study is needed.

Future research may pin down the reasons and help healthcare providers better understand sexual problems for pregnant diabetic women, the authors explained.


American Diabetes Association

“What is Gestational Diabetes?”

The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Souza, Flaviane de Oliveira, MD, et al.

“Assessment of Female Sexual Function in Pregnant Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus”

(Full-text. First published online: February 27, 2013)