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RCOG statement: New BJOG study outlines further research needed to improve the care of women with FGM

News 17 December 2014

A new study conducted by Geneva University Hospitals and the World Health Organization (WHO) published in BJOG: An International Journal in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) today reviews the existing evidence and key knowledge gaps in the clinical care of women with FGM.

It also identifies research priorities to improve the evidence necessary to establish further guidelines for the best multidisciplinary, high-quality care for women with FGM.

The study reviewed the available literature about the clinical care of women with FGM and identified four areas with significant evidence gaps, and controversy regarding optimal management. These include; obstetric outcomes and post-partum care, defibulation (surgical opening of the labia) outside of pregnancy or labour, clitoral reconstruction and training, skills and confidence of healthcare providers.

Commenting on the study, President of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Dr David Richmond, said:

“This study focuses on the importance of minimising the negative psychological and physical health outcomes of women and girls living with FGM.

“Research and strong evidence-based guidelines on the clinical management of FGM are vitally important in the elimination and prevention of FGM, as are effective policies and public awareness.

“Our clinical guideline on the management of FGM reviews the latest scientific evidence and provides guidance for healthcare professionals involved in the care of women who have undergone FGM. We are currently revising this guideline and will take into account any new evidence in the area.

“Much progress has been made over the past three years to mainstream FGM into existing strategies and close gaps in the identification, recording and sharing of information. However, much more can be done and this research highlights the need for further evidence to improve the clinical care of women with FGM.

“The RCOG has been working closely with Government and key community group for some years to spread public and professional awareness on FGM and we are optimistic that we can eliminate this unacceptable practice, given all the progress over the last few years.”


For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email

The RCOG Green-top Guideline Female Genital Mutilation and its Management is available to view here.


Abdulcadir J, Rodriguez MI, Say L. Research gaps in the care of women with Female Genital Mutilation: An analysis. BJOG 2014;