Published by: PLoS ONE
Year published: 2021

Background Approximately 200 million women and girls were reported to have undergone female genital mutilation worldwide in 2015.UNICEF’s data based on household survey estimates 15% of women from 15–49 years have undergone FGM from year 2004–2015. Despite this, reliable data on trend of prevalence of female genital mutilation and its associated birth outcomes have not been documented in Tanzania. This study aimed at determining the trends of female genital mutilation and associated maternal and neonatal adverse outcomes in northern Tanzania.

Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted using maternally-linked data from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical birth registry involving 30,286 women who gave birth to singletons from 2004–2014. The prevalence of female genital mutilation was computed as proportion of women with female genital mutilation yearly over 10 years. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals for adverse birth outcomes associated with female genital mutilation were estimated using multivariable logistic regression model.

Results Over the 10-year period, the prevalence of female genital mutilation averaged 15.4%. Female genital mutilation decreased from 23.6% in 2005 to 10.6% in 2014. Female genital mutilation was associated with increased odds for caesarean section (aOR1.26; 95% CI: 1.18–1.34), post-partum haemorrhage (aOR 1.31; 95% CI: 1.10–1.57) and long hospital stay (aOR 1.21; 95% CI: 1.14–1.29). Female genital mutilation also increased women’s likelihood of delivering an infant with low Apgar score at 5th minute (aOR 1.60; 95% CI: 1.37–1.89).FGM type III and IV had increased odds of caesarean section, episiotomy and prolonged duration of hospital stay as compared to FGM type I and II, although the association was statistically insignificant.

Conclusion Female genital mutilation prevalence has declined over the study period. Our study has demonstrated that postpartum haemorrhage, delivery by caesarean section, long maternal hospital stays and low APGAR score are associated with FGM. Initiatives to mitigate FGM practice should be strengthened further to reduce/eliminate this practice. Moreover, surgical interventions to improve severe form FGM are welcomed to improve the aforementioned aspects of obstetric outcome in this locality.