Background: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a harmful cultural practice perpetuating gender inequality and violence against women and the girl child. This study assessed prevalence and determinants of FGM among pregnant women in Benin City, Edo State with a view to mitigating the practice.
Methods: A facility-based descriptive, cross-sectional study involving 400 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in selected health facilities in Benin City, Edo State. The respondents were selected using systematic sampling technique and data collection was by pretested structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data was analyzed using IBM SPSS version 21.0 statistical software with statistical significance set at p<0.05 and 95% confidence interval.
Results: The mean age (SD) of respondents was 30.3 (4.8) years. The prevalence of FGM among respondents was 187 (46.7%) and 77 (19.4%) of them had their daughters circumcised. Seventy-six (98.7%) and 1 (1.3%) of the daughters circumcised had mothers who were previously and not previously circumcised, respectively. Significant association exists between FGM status of respondents and their daughters (p<0.001) and in relation to their intention to circumcise future daughters (p<0.001). Age group (p=0.004), ethnicity (p<0.001), educational status (p=0.004) and knowledge of FGM (p<0.001) were significant factors influencing FGM practice.
Conclusion: Female genital mutilation was common among respondents studied with significant association identified between the FGM status of respondents with that of their daughters and intention to circumcise future daughters. There is need to channel appropriate FGM preventive interventions involving critical stakeholders including pregnant women to curb this harmful socio-cultural practice.