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Female genital mutilation and pregnancy

Female genital mutilation (FGM) can cause complications before and during pregnancy. It can make it more difficult to get pregnant and can sometimes cause complications during labour and birth.

Talk to your GP, midwife or obstetrician as early as possible in your pregnancy if you've had FGM – even if it does not cause you any problems.

Your GP, midwife or obstetrician can help you:

  • take care of your health during your pregnancy
  • discuss and plan for the safest and best method of delivering your baby
  • discuss and plan any procedures that may be necessary to undo the effect of FGM

What is FGM

FGM is also known as female circumcision or cutting.

FGM is the harming, injuring, cutting or removal of part or all female external genitalia without any medical reason.

FGM has no health benefits. It can cause serious harm to girls and women and leave them with ongoing health problems for all of their lives.

Who is affected by FGM

Almost 6,000 women living in Ireland have received FGM before they moved here.

FGM is known to happen globally in 31 countries, mostly in Africa. FGM is not a traditional practice in Ireland.

People or women living in Ireland who have received FGM are mainly from:

  • Egypt
  • Sudan
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Somalia

FGM is usually carried out on young girls and people between the ages of 0 and 14.

More information on female genital mutilation

FGM and the law in Ireland

In Ireland FGM is illegal. It is a serious crime that can be punished by imprisonment.

Young girls and people in Ireland are protected against FGM by the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012. It's also a crime to take a girl to another country to have FGM performed.

If you're worried about a girl at risk of FGM, you can contact any of the following:

FGM support

The HSE supports a free FGM treatment service at the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) in Dublin city centre.

Women, girls and people in Ireland who had FGM can receive free medical, psychological, sexual and reproductive health care.

Anyone living anywhere in Ireland can make an appointment. You do not need your doctor or GP to refer you.

FGM Treatment Service

Irish Family Planning Association,
Dublin City Centre Clinic,
5/7 Cathal Brugha Street,
Dublin 1

Freephone: (01) 872 7088

FGM Treatment Service confidential line: 085 877 1342 (phone or text)


Akidwa is a national network of migrant women living in Ireland. The organisation provides support to women and people living with FGM.

Phone: 01 834 9851 or email

Page last reviewed: 12 September 2022
Next review due: 12 September 2025