Female Genital Mutilation and Birth Complications, Jijiga Town, Eastern Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), in one form or another continues to exist in around 40 countries of the world. It is associated with different kinds of health problems which manifest immediately or long after the wound has healed. Health hazards during delivery are among the long term complications of FGM. With the objectives of assessing and comparing the differential occurrence of birth complications among the different types of female genital mutilation, a cross-sectional study using questionnaire was conducted on December 2001 in Jijiga town among 913 women of reproductive age who had their first birth during the last five years. The proportion of women who were genitally mutilated was 96% with 52% of them undergone the most severe type of FGM – infibulation. The rest 48% of women had undergone either FGM Type I or Type II; i.e., they were genitally mutilated but not infibulated. Episiotomies occurred among 61% of women who were delivering for the first time and 28.1% of women delivering for the second time. The rates of instrumental and cesarean deliveries among the first-time deliveries were 6.6% and 3.1%, respectively; while they were 3.2% and 1.3% among the second-time deliveries, respectively. Among primi-parous women 36.2% reported having had complicated postnatal period; 22.5%, prolonged labour; 10.3%, perineal tear and 9.8%, heavy bleeding. Internal comparison between infibulated and non-infibulated women had shown that there was a significant difference in the occurrence of hemorrhage and postnatal problems. It was concluded that female genital mutilation in general and infibulation in particular were risk factors for the occurrence of birth complications. Collaborative educational interventions were recommended



Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)