Female Circumcision

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Hi there

I have dealt with two clients who are circumcised. I find that they are terrified of giving birth vaginally and would almost prefer to have a caesarean birth instead. The last one was screaming and writhing at the use of a vacuum. I have heard comments made that the women in this particular culture would rather have a c/s than vacuum because of the dangers of this type of extraction.

Has anyone else had any experience with circumcised/infibulated women? If so, please contact me. I really want to learn more about this issue.

Thank you, Kristine Owens

-- Kristine Owens (doulacare@hotmail.com), November 05, 1999


While I don't have any personal experience with supporting these women I have read a bit on it and would imagine that the poor moms are worried about the pain from the extractor. Often, they don't have enough room to have a period effectively so the extractor would be even more frightening for them than any other woman. I found bunches of info on the net by searching under circumcision.

Thanks for helping these women!! Take care- Kirsten

-- Kirsten Gerrish (kirsten@doula.net), December 04, 1999.

Also, keep in mind that their concerns/fears may not be always be based on an intellectual decision about the use of any particular "assistant" device in a vaginal birth but also have much to do with mental health. None of these women choose to be circumsized in any way. It was, no doubt, a traumatic experience for them. In some ways it is probably a lot like the issues one might encounter with a woman who was sexually abused. The thought of vaginal birth might be scarey simply because it brings up all sorts of issues. Often women who have been abused have a horrible time having a basic pap smear- even at a feminist health center where they have a supportive and caring environment.

-- sarah bortt (sarahb@interaccess.com), March 07, 2000.

I have formed a group who support women/girls who have either been subject to Female Genital Mutilation or are at risk for undergoing this procedure. It never leaves you when you learn of the womans experience and their needs to be more midwifes/doula's aware of FGM.

We organise workshops to create awareness on this issue. Education is the only way to change such a deep cultural belife.

Feel free to contact me any time.

Mandy King - Australia

-- Mandy King (baware@iinet.net.au), October 11, 2002.

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