No association between female circumcision and prolonged labour: a case control study of immigrant women giving birth in Sweden

European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 2005 Aug;121(2):182-185

No association between female circumcision and prolonged labour: a case control study of immigrant women giving birth in Sweden

Essén B, Sjöberg N, Gudmundsson S, Östergren, Lindqvist PG


Objective: Several authors’ associate female genital circumcision with obstructed and prolonged labour, but the World Health Organization recently stated that no scientific evidence confirms such a relationship. The object of this study was to compare the duration of the second stage of labour between circumcised and non-circumcised women in a high-income community in Europe.

Methods: Sixty-eight circumcised nulliparous women originally from the Horn of Africa were compared to a group of 2486 non-circumcised nulliparous who gave birth at a university hospital setting in Sweden, 1990–1996. Defibulation was routinely performed during labour.

Findings: Circumcised women were found to have had second stage labour, which was significantly statistically shorter (35/53min, respectively, p0.001) and a lower risk of prolonged labour than the non-circumcised group.

Conclusions: Prolonged labour does not seem to be associated to female genital circumcision in affluent societies with high standards of obstetric care.

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