Effects of female genital mutilation/cutting on birth - a retrospective case-control-study
IUGA Academy. Dorfler D. Jun 30, 2018; 213048; 354
Assoc. Prof. Daniela Dorfler
Assoc. Prof. Daniela Dorfler

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Effects of female genital mutilation/cutting on birth – a retrospective case-control-study

Arnreiter, C1;Dörfler, D2

1: Medical University of Vienna; 2: Division of Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University Vienna

Introduction: According to the World Health Organization an estimated amount of 200 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) (1). The procedure is commonly practiced in 30 African countries as well as in the Middle East and Asia (1). Due to migration trends, European doctors are more and more often confronted with this practice and its consequences (1, 2).

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether women with FGM/C had a higher prevalence of caesarean section than women without FGM/C. Moreover, maternal and fetal outcomes for women with FGM/C compared to women without FGM/C were examined.

Methods: A retrospective case-control study was conducted. All women with FGM/C were identified from the records of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Data from 65 births were available and for every delivery a woman without FGM/C was matched as a control patient. The women were matched for maternal age.

Results: In the group of women with FGM/C 26 (40%) caesarean sections were performed and 25 (38,5%) were carried out in the control group. Therefore, a substantial statistical difference between the two groups could not be seen. There was also no statistically significant difference between lacerations, birth weight, blood loss, instrumental vaginal delivery, size of the child, umbilical cord pH, Apgar Score after 1,5 and 10 minutes or stillbirth in women with FGM/C compared to controls. Patients with FGM/C had significantly more often an episiotomy than women without FGM/C (p = .035).

Conclusions: No significant difference in the prevalence of caesarean section between FGM/C patients and controls was found. As the caesarean section rate of 38,5% in the control group lies above the country’s average and the women were only matched for maternal age, it would be advisable for future studies to match the controls according to further criteria. Other risk factors for caesarean section should be excluded. The comparison of the umbilical cord pH between the two groups showed a tendency to a significant result. Women with FGM/C had a lower average value than the control group. However, the results show that women with FGM/C had a higher prevalence of episiotomy than the control group.


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Female genital mutilation. Fact sheet No241, Updated January; 2018. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
  2. Caroppo E, Almadori A, Giannuzzi V, Brogna P, Diodati A, Bria P. Health care for immigrant women in Italy: are we really ready? A survey on knowledge about female genital mutilation. Ann DellIstituto Super Sanità. 2014 Mar;(1).


Work supported by industry: no.

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