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Female Genital Mutilation and Obstetric Care

Between 100-140 million women worldwide have been circumcised and 2 million or more girls, or approximately 5,500 per day, experience this procedure each year. This book provides a valuable resource for those concerned with the Obstetric, Midwifery and Nursing care of women who have previously undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Unique information on the practice of FGM is also provided from a multidisciplinary viewpoint. Embedded in a global perspective, the book integrates social, cultural, religious, psychological and sexual information with appropriate medical and obstetrical care.

FGM is commonly practiced in about 28 countries predominantly in Africa and Asia. Women from these countries are migrating with increasing frequency to Canada, the USA, the UK, Europe and Australia. Caregivers in these countries are infrequently aware of the practice and even less prepared for the medical and obstetric implications of FGM. Nevertheless they are confronted with the reality of caring for these women, particularly during childbirth. There is an urgent need to acquire the skills needed for effective clinical care of women with FGM. Excellent clinical skills are, however, insufficient and must be accompanied by culturally appropriate and sensitive attitudes.

Rare, high-quality photographs of FGM as well as the process of defilation and repair are included in the text.


“The thrust of the book is that innocent little girls who did no harm, but were obedient to their parents and elders, deserve tender loving culturally sensitive care from their health care providers and not just technically sound clinical care.  As the authors rightly point out, we should strive to prevent adding insult to injury” (Prof Mahmoud F. Fathalla, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Assiut University, Egypt; Past President of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)).


“I think…that as health care providers to these women we are not sensitive to patients’ self perception of their genital organs. I have witnessed residents asking them, ‘How did you ever get pregnant’ etc. I have never given it much thought but these are really quite devastating comments for these patients. I found the personal comments of the Somali women profound and moving.  It has made me reflect.

"Overall, I feel that the whole book is well organized and written.  It covers the medical, psychological, legal and cultural issues around FGM – a renaissance approach…written extremely well.  I think that it is a beautiful illustration of cultural sensitivity which would be a template for teaching medical students” (Dr Mark Walker, Obstetrician, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Ottawa, Canada).

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