464 Female Genital Cutting
➤ If you can
couples to talk to
one another, it will
be easier for them to
talk about how female
genital cutting affects
their sexual relations.
What to do for problems with sex:
A woman can talk with her partner about finding ways to
become more sexually aroused, and explain that she may need
more time to feel aroused.
She can also talk about ways to make sex less painful. Having
enough wetness (lubrication) can make sex safer and hurt less.
Getting reproductive health care
If an infibulated woman’s vaginal opening is not large
enough, she cannot get a pelvic exam or a Pap test for
cancer (see page 378). This means she has fewer choices for
protecting herself against pregnancy, cancer, and STIs.
➤ Blocked births
are more common
in young girls
whose bodies are
not fully grown.
➤ If a woman
lives far from
services, having a
baby at home may
especially if she has
➤ Some traditional
midwives have had
special training for
helping women who
have had their genitals
cut have safe births,
and for problems from
Problems with childbirth
With some types of female genital cutting,
there is a greater risk that the baby will
have difficulty getting out of the vagina
(blocked birth). If the hole left after
infibulation is very small, it must be
opened so the baby’s head can pass
through. This is called ‘deinfibulation’
(see the box on the next page).
If the person who does the
opening is not skilled,
it can cause other
Scarring from female
genital cutting can also
cause the genitals to tear
more during childbirth, since
scarred skin does not stretch
easily. Heavy bleeding may result.
What to do:
Plan in advance for childbirth. During the second half
of pregnancy, a pregnant woman should try to see a trained
midwife or other health worker trained in helping women who
have had their genitals cut give birth. The midwife can tell her if
there is a risk of complications, or if the vaginal opening should
be made larger. If there are risks, a woman can make plans for
getting medical care ahead of time.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012