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

Arnreiter, C1Dörfler, D1

1: Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Background: An estimated amount of 100-140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with female genital cutting. Due to migration trends, European doctors are more and more often confronted with this practice and the consequences it might bring.

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

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

Results: In the group of women with FGC 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 FGC compared to controls. Patients with FGC had significantly more often an episiotomy than women without FGC (= .035).

Conclusion: No significant difference in the prevalence of caesarean section between FGC patients and controls was found. As the caesarean section rate of 38,5% in the control group lies above the Austrian average of 30,2% (status as of 2015) 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. However, the results show that women with FGC had a higher prevalence of episiotomy than the control group.


Work supported by industry: no.

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