No association between female circumcision and prolonged labour: a case control study of immigrant women giving birth in Sweden

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2005 Aug 1;121(2):182-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2004.12.010.


Objective: Several authors' associate female genital circumcision with obstructed and prolonged labour, but the World Health Organization recently stated that no scientific evidence confirms such a relationship. The object of this study was to compare the duration of the second stage of labour between circumcised and non-circumcised women in a high-income community in Europe.

Methods: Sixty-eight circumcised nulliparous women originally from the Horn of Africa were compared to a group of 2486 non-circumcised nulliparous who gave birth at a university hospital setting in Sweden, 1990-1996. Defibulation was routinely performed during labour.

Findings: Circumcised women were found to have had second stage labour, which was significantly statistically shorter (35/53 min, respectively, p < or = 0.001) and a lower risk of prolonged labour than the non-circumcised group.

Conclusions: Prolonged labour does not seem to be associated to female genital circumcision in affluent societies with high standards of obstetric care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects*
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Ethiopia / ethnology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obstetric Labor Complications / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Somalia / ethnology
  • Sweden / epidemiology