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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

There has been much debate among researchers in couple and family psychology on whether and how much the transition to parenthood affects partners’ conjugal life. This chapter provides a literature review aimed at determining what is currently known about relationship functioning and sexual functioning during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Most existing research on the subject reveals that the birth of a first child is associated with a decline in relationship satisfaction and sexual functioning. Recent data from prospective studies suggest that the transition from being a couple to being parents is actually associated with declines in relationship functioning over and above the normative declines reported by couples without children. This chapter examines the impact of individual, relational, and situational factors that have been proposed to explain this decline. Finally, the strengths and limitations of current research are discussed, and future research avenues are considered.

Keywords: pregnancy, relationship functioning, relationship satisfaction, sexual functioning, transition to parenthood

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