International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 413–420 | Cite as

The lower prevalence of female genital mutilation in the Netherlands: a nationwide study in Dutch midwifery practices

  • Dineke G. KorfkerEmail author
  • Ria Reis
  • Marlies E. B. Rijnders
  • Sanna Meijer-van Asperen
  • Lucienne Read
  • Maylis Sanjuan
  • Kathy Herschderfer
  • Simone E. Buitendijk
Original Article



To determine the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in women giving birth in 2008 in the Netherlands.


A retrospective questionnaire study was conducted. The study covered all 513 midwifery practices in the Netherlands. The data were analysed with SPSS 17.0.


The response from midwifery practices was 93% (n = 478). They retrospectively reported 470 circumcised women in 2008 (0.32%). The expected prevalence in the Netherlands based on the estimated prevalence of FGM in the country of birth was 0.7%. It is likely that there was underreporting in midwifery practices since midwives do not always enquire about the subject and may not notice the milder types of FGM. Midwives who checked their records before answering our questionnaire reported a prevalence of 0.8%.


On the basis of this study, we can conclude that FGM is a serious clinical problem in Europe for migrant women from risk countries for FGM. These women should receive extra attention from obstetricians and midwives during childbirth, since almost half are mutilated and FGM involves a risk of complications during delivery for both women and children.


Female genital mutilation Prevalence Midwifery practices Country of birth Migrants Delivery 



We thank the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) for financing this study.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dineke G. Korfker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ria Reis
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marlies E. B. Rijnders
    • 1
  • Sanna Meijer-van Asperen
    • 4
  • Lucienne Read
    • 5
    • 6
  • Maylis Sanjuan
    • 7
  • Kathy Herschderfer
    • 8
  • Simone E. Buitendijk
    • 2
  1. 1.TNO Innovation for LifeLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)LeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.BovenIJ HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.OLVG HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Midwifery Practice BijlmermeerAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Midwifery Practice VidaAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Royal Tropical InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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