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Maternal Mortality and FGM
One woman dies every two minutes from
pregnancy-related causes
99% of all maternal deaths occur in the
developing world
More than 1 million children a year are left
motherless due to maternal mortality
135 million girls living today have undergone
female genital mutilation, greatly increasing
their risk of maternal mortality
Some of the leading factors leading to
maternal deaths are:
Distance from medical care
A lack of information
Inadequate medical services
Cultural practices
Female genital mutilation is defined by
the WHO as "all procedures that involve
partial or total removal of the external female
genitalia or other injury to the female genital
organs for non-medical reasons”
It is practiced as a cultural ritual primarily
in sub-Saharan and Northeast Africa (to a
lesser extent in Asia, the Middle East and
within immigrant communities elsewhere)
Typically carried out, with or without
anaesthesia, by a traditional circumciser using
a knife or razor
The age of the girls varies from weeks after
birth to puberty; in half the countries for
which figures were available in 2013, most
girls were cut before the age of five
About 140 million girls and women worldwide
are currently living with the consequences of
The health effects depend on the
procedure but can include:
recurrent infections
chronic pain
complications during childbirth
fatal bleeding
The practice is an ethnic marker, rooted in
gender inequality, ideas about purity, modesty
and aesthetics, and attempts to control
women's sexuality
It is supported by both women and men in
countries that practice it, particularly by the
women, who see it as a source of honour and
authority, and an essential part of raising a
daughter well