Objective: To explore how perinatal care practice may influence labor outcomes among circumcised women.
Study design: In-depth interviews were conducted with 23 Somali immigrants and 36 Norwegian health care professionals about their experiences from antenatal care, delivery and the management of circumcision.
Results: Circumcision was not recognized as an important delivery issue among Norwegian health care professionals and generally the topic was not addressed antenatally. The Somalis feared lack of experience and sub-optimal treatment at delivery. All of the women expressed a strong fear of cesarean section. Health care professionals were uncertain about delivery procedures for infibulated women and occasionally cesarean sections were performed in place of defibulation.
Conclusion: We hypothesize that neglect of circumcision may lead to adverse birth outcomes including unnecessary cesarean sections, prolonged second stage of labor and low Apgar scores. We suggest that infibulated women need a carefully planned delivery, correctly performed defibulation and adequate pain relief.