Effect of female genital cutting performed by health care professionals on labor complications in Egyptian women: a prospective cohort study

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Abstract

Aim:

To examine the effect of the degree of female genital cutting (FGC) performed by health-care professionals on perineal scarring; delivery mode; duration of second stage of labor; incidence of perineal tears and episiotomy in a cohort of uncircumcised versus circumcised (types I and II) women.

Methods:

A prospective cohort study included 450 primigravida women in active labor attending the Faculty of Medicine Cairo University Hospital between January 2013 and August 2014. Women were divided into three groups based on medical examination upon admission. Group I (Control) included 150 uncut women, Group II included 150 women with type I FGC and Group III included 150 women with type II FGC. A structured questionnaire elicited the information on women's socio-demographic characteristics including age, residence, occupation, educational level, age of marriage and FGC circumstances. Association between FGC and labor complications was examined. Main outcomes: risk of perineal scarring; delivery mode; duration of second stage of labor; incidence of perineal tears and episiotomy.

Results:

Family history of genitally cut mother/sister was the most significant socio-demographic factor associated with FGC. FGC especially type II was associated with significantly higher incidence of vulvar scar (P<0.0002), perineal tears (P<0.0001) and increased likelihood of additional vaginal and perineal trauma [odds ratio (OR): 1.85, 95% CI: 0.60-5.65. P≤0.001]. There was insignificant difference in risks of cesarean section (CS), instrumental delivery, episiotomy and short-term neonatal outcomes.

Conclusion:

The study strengthens the evidence that FGC increases the risk of tears in spite of medicalization of the practice.

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