Qualitative study of perinatal care experiences among Somali women and local health care professionals in Norway

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2004 Jan 15;112(1):29-35. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(03)00313-0.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Circumcision, Female / ethnology*
  • Circumcision, Female / methods
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Ethics
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Maternal Health Services
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Perinatal Care / standards*
  • Perinatal Care / trends
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Somalia / ethnology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires