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Female genital mutilation and pregnancy

Female genital mutilation (FGM) can cause complications and problems before and during pregnancy. It can also make labour and giving birth difficult.

You should talk to your GP, midwife or obstetrician as early as possible in your pregnancy if you've received FGM.

Your GP, midwife or obstetrician can help you:

  • take care of your health during your pregnancy
  • plan for the safest and best method of delivering your baby

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

It's estimated that over 5,000 women living in Ireland have received FGM before they moved here.

FGM is known to occur globally in 31 countries, mostly in Africa. FGM isn't a traditional practice in Ireland.

Women living in Ireland who have received FGM are mainly from:

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

FGM usually occurs on young girls between the ages of 0 and 14.

FGM and the law in Ireland

In Ireland FGM is illegal and is seen as a serious crime. Girls 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 and girls 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 don't 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

Phone number: (01) 872 7088

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

Akidwa is an organisation that provides support to women living with FGM. Contact Akidwa at 01-834 9851 or

page last reviewed: 18/09/2018
next review due: 18/09/2021