Research indicates that having high sexual satisfaction during pregnancy is difficult for couples. This negative trend is important considering that low sexual satisfaction can negatively affect both relationship satisfaction, psychological health, and child outcomes. However, there is evidence that this trend does not apply to all and different groups of couples exist in terms of their sexual satisfaction in pregnancy. Guided by family systems theory and the biopsychosocial model, the current study explored if different subsets of couples, composed of pregnant wives and husbands, exist in terms of their sexual satisfaction during pregnancy and what factors distinguish potential subsets. Using U.S. nationally representative data from 523 pregnant married couples and latent profile analysis adjusting for pregnancy-related biological factors, two subsets of pregnant couples were identified—a larger subset of couples where wives and husbands were satisfied with sex overall (79%) and a smaller subset where wives and husbands were neutral about satisfaction with sex (21%). Having lower depressive symptoms among wives was associated with a greater likelihood of being in the more satisfied subset over the less satisfied subset—the only significant predictor among a variety of biological, psychological, and relational factors, including sexual frequency. Implications include the notion that most U.S. couples do well in navigating the sexual challenges in their control during pregnancy and the importance for medical professionals, practitioners, and educators to help women maintain good mental health during pregnancy in order to better sexual, relational, and psychological outcomes for expectant couples and improve early childhood outcomes.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life



Date Submitted


Document Type





Pregnancy, sexual satisfaction, depression, parents, couples