Female genital mutilation—a practice involving partial or full removal of the labia, clitoris, or both—increases by 50% the likelihood that the woman or her baby will die during childbirth, according to a study by the World Health Organization (Banks E et al. Lancet. 2006;367:1835-1841).
Affected women were more likely to undergo cesarean section, to experience substantial postpartum blood loss, and to require an extended hospital stay, noted the researchers, who examined more than 28 000 pregnant women in 6 African countries. Risks were greater with more extensive genital cutting, the authors reported.
Stephenson J. Female Genital Mutilation. JAMA. 2006;296(3):272. doi:10.1001/jama.296.3.272-c