Midwives' Experiences of Caring for Women During Childbirth Who Have Undergone Female Genital Mutilation: an Interpretative Study
In recent years, as a result of globalisation and increased immigration from countries known to engage in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), exposure to the results of the centuries old tradition/cultural practice of FGM Type III is becoming part of the New Zealand midwifery experience. While a wealth of information exists around the FGM procedure itself, little research has been specifically documented about the midwives' experiences of caring for women in childbirth who have undergone this procedure. This study captures the experience of a small group of midwives, caring for women who have undergone FGM Type III, during the childbirth experience. It focuses on the feelings and experiences of the midwives during the process of labour and birth. An interpretive approach was adopted, using in-depth open-ended interviews, in order to explore, to gain insight and to understand the midwife's experience. The study recognises there are many different possible interpretations with midwives 'telling their story', and identifies issues that they encountered in providing care for these women. Four themes were identified in the midwife's experience: 'feeling unprepared', 'negotiating the cultural gap', 'the traumatic reality of deinfibulation' and 'tensions and paradoxes'. These reflect the journey of the midwife through their experiences and the challenges they faced. This research proposes that midwives require further support in their theoretical and practical knowledge in caring for women who have undergone FGM Type III. It also highlights the lack of structured support and information that surrounds their care.