Obstetric care at the intersection of science and culture: Swedish doctors' perspectives on obstetric care of women who have undergone female genital cutting

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2010;30(6):553-8. doi: 10.3109/01443615.2010.484110.


Providing healthcare for women having undergone female genital cutting can present challenges. The women might require special obstetric care, including an anterior episiotomy (defibulation) for infibulated women. This paper explores how Swedish doctors caring for these women describe, explain and reason about their care and relevant policies in a Swedish context. A qualitative study was carried out with 13 chief/senior obstetricians and seven senior house officers. There was little consensus among the interviewed doctors on what constitutes good obstetric care for women with FGC or how care should be provided. Major problems include: inconsistent policy and praxis; uncoordinated care trajectories; diffuse professional role responsibilities; difficulties in monitoring labour and fetal status; and inhibited communication. The data highlight the need for increased awareness and reflective praxis both on the part of individual practitioners, and on an organisational level, which takes account of the special needs of different users.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Female / ethnology*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / ethnology
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Sweden