Published by: BMJ Open
Year published: 2019

Objectives The objective of this study was to determine whether female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) exists in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Design A cross-sectional study. Setting King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Participants Between December 2016 and August 2017, women attending the obstetrics and gynaecology clinics were asked to participate in a cross-sectional survey. This included questions on demographics, FGM/C status and type and attitudes towards the practice.

Results In a convenience sample of 963 women aged 18 to 75 years, 175 (18.2%) had undergone FGM/C. Compared with women without FGM/C, women with FGM/C were older, married, non-Saudi and had a lower monthly income. Thirty-seven (21.1%) women had had FGM/C with some cutting of body parts (type I or II), 11 (6.3%) with suturing (type III), 46 (26.3%) with no cutting of body parts (type IV) and 81 (46.3%) did not know their type of FGM/C. There was also a significant association between nationality and age at which FGM/C was performed, with Saudi women undergoing the procedure earlier than Egyptian, Somali, Yemeni and Sudanese women.

Conclusions FGM/C is prevalent in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, among immigrant women from other countries, and it is practised among Saudi women. Further research is needed to determine its prevalence.