Caring for a woman after female genital cutting
Caring for a woman after
female genital cutting (circumcision)
In some communities — mostly in Africa but also in some parts of Asia and the
Middle East — girls and young women are cut on their genitals. Like many cultural
practices, it is a way that girls’ bodies are changed so they are considered beautiful,
acceptable, or clean. It is also seen as a passage to womanhood.
Sometimes just a small cut is made. Sometimes the clitoris and the inner lips of
the vagina are removed. Sometimes the girl’s genitals are sewn partially closed. This
kind of cutting has many names including circumcision, female genital mutilation,
or the name we use, female genital cutting (FGC).
While this tradition may be meaningful for the
community, FGC has serious harmful effects on the
health and well-being of the girls who are cut. In the
long term, FGC can lead to urinary tract infections,
emotional damage, loss of sexual sensation or ability
to have sex as an adult, and long, unproductive labors
which can lead to death of the baby or the mother.
If a woman has had FGC and her genitals have been
sewn partially closed, her genitals need to be cut open
before she gives birth.
To open a genital scar
1. Wash your hands well and put on sterile
2. Put 2 fingers into the vagina and under the
3. Inject a local anesthetic if you have it
(see page 360).
4. Use a sterile pair of scissors to cut the scar open.
Open the scar enough so you can see the urethra,
but no farther. These cuts can bleed heavily, so
be careful not to cut far.
To repair the cut
1. Wash your hands well and put on sterile plastic gloves.
2. Inject a local anesthetic on both sides of the scar
(see page 360).
3. Loosely sew together raw surfaces with 000 chromic
gut or Vicryl suture to stop any bleeding.
A Book for Midwives (2010)