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Finnish hospitals see more babies born to mothers with FGM
- Oct 17, 2018 -

Leading Finnish obstetricians are calling on doctors to become more knowledgeable of female genital mutilation, as more circumcised women give birth in Finland.

Finland has started tallying births by circumcised mothers as the medical community is increasingly dealing with delivery complications caused by female genital mutilation, FGM.

Päivi Polo, who heads the women’s clinic at Turku University Hospital, told Yle she sees 1-2 circumcised patients every week, a practice where some or all of a woman's or girl's external genital organs are cut or damaged for cultural beliefs. Female genital mutilation is most prevalent on the African continent, particularly in Egypt.

”We had 50 circumcised women giving birth in Turku last year, and we have to be able to serve circumcised women in the best way possible,” Polo told Yle.

FGM can cause serious medical complications, from urinary problems to severe infections and extremely painful, or obstructed deliveries, according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

It was only last year that Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) began recording births by circumcised women in Finland, and other major hospitals have also failed to keep detailed records. The THL, however, estimates that a few hundred circumcised women gave birth in Finland last year.

Meanwhile Seija Grenman, Polo’s predecessor at Turku University Hospital, pointed out that medical practitioners should be sensitive not to project any judgement on circumcised women, even though the practice is criminalised in Finland.

To respect patients, medical practitioners use the word 'circumcision' instead of 'mutilation', according to Grenman.