Post-FGM/C Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) Check-Ups

Many women suffer anxiety about pelvic examinations, especially if it is the first time, regardless of where they were born and grew up.  Having such an examination, for women who have experienced a prior negative or traumatic situation, such as female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) is partly the cause for them to avoid visits to a physician.

There have been several hair-raising stories from post-FGM/C patients, telling their experiences when they visited gynecologists.  In most of those cases, the gynecologists and their healthcare workers were not informed about the women’s previous traumatic experiences.  These experiences can cause women to avoid prenatal care and regular gynecological check-ups.  The first person the patient encounters at a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office is the receptionist, who gathers information.  If that first encounter is not familiar with the needs of the patient and is not sensitive to cultural differences, the visit could take a downhill direction from there.

According to the National Institutes of Health, they elicit specific details in a gentle manner when patients confide to them their prior negative experiences.  They make all efforts to strategize together in order to minimize any discomfort to the patient. They also claim to educate the patient prior to examination.  They find that when the patient is in a reclining position on the examination table while she is still clothed helps to ease the patient’s anxiety.  It is suggested that having a chaperone with the patient during examination when anxiety is present could be helpful.  In some parts of the world, having a chaperone during examination of a patient is a requirement.  Based on a research study of emergency room patients, more than forty percent of female patients preferred a chaperone during examination by a male gynecologist, as compared to about twenty-six percent in examinations by a female physician.

Although these concerns and anxieties exist among women, they are encouraged to seek regular OB/GYN check-ups.  It is understandable that post-FGM/C patients could very well relive the trauma suffered in previous years; scheduling regular check-ups, pap smears and prenatal care are of utmost importance to your health and survival.

A pap smear, also called a pap test is a screening procedure for possible cervical cancer. Having pap smears helps to detect the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix.  In a pap smear, the test looks for any changes in the cells of the cervix that show cervical cancer or conditions that could develop into cancer.  According to an article in Women’s Health, pap smear screenings should begin at the age of 21.  Routine screening is recommended every three years in women between the ages 21 through 65.  When your pap smear detects abnormal cells, your doctor will take immediate steps to figure out what is behind these changes and treat the condition before it turns into cancer.  That is the importance of having your pap smear done.

Seeking early and regular prenatal care is wise, and is most definitely helpful for a healthy pregnancy.  When you have regular prenatal care you will help reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy as well as at the time of delivery.  By having regular prenatal care, your physician will be able to control any conditions you may have, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses.  It is advised that from the fourth week of your pregnancy until week twenty-eight, you should visit your OB/GYN once a month.  If not, your first prenatal care visit should occur about eight weeks after your last menstrual period.

According to OB/GYNs, your second trimester commences in fourteen to twenty-seven weeks of your pregnancy.  This is the period when you should see your physician once every four weeks.  If you have a condition or complications, then your check-ups should be more frequent.

In your third trimester, according to medical advice, you should have a prenatal visit every two weeks until week thirty-six of your pregnancy. After week thirty-six, you should make weekly visits to your OB/GYN.  If you previously experienced FGM/C, you may need to have a C-Section delivery as opposed to vaginal delivery.  Your regular check-ups and prenatal care will prepare you for that.

There are five benefits of having prenatal care.  1) Your health and your baby’s life depend on it.  2) You will receive accurate and nutritional information during your pregnancy.  3) You will keep track of the development of your baby, as it grows in the womb.  4) You will know when to schedule various tests and exams.  5) You will know your delivery date and will be informed about what to expect when you go into labor.

The importance of having knowledgeable frontline healthcare workers in the U.S. is to avoid possible demoralization of post-FGM/C patients by uninformed healthcare workers.  Knowledge and information also involve cultural sensitivity and being aware of the cultures of the patients.  There may be problems in having pap smears or even regular pelvic examinations, if the patient has experienced type three of female genital mutilation and cutting, which is infibulation.  It is found that majority of the patients that shy away from prenatal care and OB/GYN exams are those that have been infibulated.  Physicians and healthcare providers need to be mindful of the various types of FGM/C.  Types one and two could very well cause cysts, keloids and heavy scar tissues.  Those could also cause difficulties in administering pap smears or simple pelvic exams.

Do not be afraid to have your examinations and tests done.  There are now more knowledgeable and informed physicians and healthcare workers in female genital mutilation and cutting, here in the U.S. and other parts of the western world.  When you search for an OB/GYN, inquire if that doctor knows about FGM/C, and to what extent his or her knowledge is in it.  It is your right to ask those questions.  If you need assistance in finding an appropriate OB/GYN, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation has a list of such physicians that are knowledgeable in post-FGM/C medical care, and they will refer you to one of them.

Send all comments and questions about the preceding article to or call (703) 818-3787.      


Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation’s 2017 Calendar


  • Walk To End FGM registration – Now Open for Registration at, scroll down and click on the pink Register button
  • NANBPW 81st Convention in Fort Worth, Texas – July 19th through 24th
  • Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Mid-Year Board Meeting – July 29th
  • The education toolkit – Now Available and downloadable at
  • Support/Focus Group Meeting – August 5th
  • Vacances San Excision (Summer without Cutting) Camp – August 19th
  • IAC-USA Benefit Dinner – August 26th
  • Walk To End FGM – October 21st
  • Giving Tuesday – November 28th
  • Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Year-End Board Meeting – December 1st

We will update this calendar as the year progresses.  Please mark your calendars, as we work toward a prosperous 2017.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation FGM/C Support Group:  Our survivors’ support group meeting is on August 5th.  These meetings are for women who are in the process of healing (emotionally and physically) and wish to receive emotional support in a group setting.  During support group meetings, participants can share any aspect of their stories that they wish to reveal and are showered with unconditional love and support.  In addition to scheduled group meetings, individual support meetings are available, recommended, and encouraged for any survivor who may not be ready or interested in attending group meetings.  To schedule one-on-one meetings, please contact us at the following email address or call 703.818.3787 to inform us of your interest in attending individual sessions with one of our staff members.  Confidentiality, respect, and an abundance of understanding and unconditional acceptance are our fundamental objectives.  Our group facilitator is Willa Jones, Ph.D., a District of Columbia licensed professional counselor with over 20 years of experience.  The Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation staff person, who will also attend group sessions, is Amie Jallah.  You are invited to come out and let us support and celebrate your growth and progress at our group sessions in August, at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, DC  20016 from noon until 1 p.m.  Light refreshments will be served.


Volunteers Needed:  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is in search of volunteers for their 4th annual Walk to End FGM in the nation’s capital on Saturday, October 21, 2017.  Volunteers’ responsibilities are: Arrive early, set-up, on-site registration, T-shirt and bag distribution, oversee donations, supervision of the tents, coordinate pre-walk ceremony, seat speakers and guests, coordinate photo-ops and pre-walk interviews.  All volunteers will have free registration for the walk.  If you are interested in being a volunteer for the Walk To End FGM send an email to  and put in the subject line, “Volunteer”.

To volunteer, contact us at or call 703-818-3787.  Register at and Walk to End FGM.

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  As such, your donations and registration fees are tax deductible to the maximum extent required by law.


Make Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation Your Favorite Charity in 2017

When you shop during the year at Amazon, please select Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation as your charity of choice. When you #StartWithaSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Global Woman Peace Foundation. Bookmark the link below and support us every time you shop.

In your charitable contributions and donations in 2017, please consider Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation by either through the DONATE BUTTON or by sending a check to Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, 14001A Grumble Jones Court, Centreville, Virginia 20121.  Your generous donations are tax deductible.  Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

Do you have an announcement you would like to place in this section of the newsletter?  Here are the guidelines below:

The guidelines to submit an announcement are to appear in this newsletter:

  • The length of announcement must be no more than a paragraph of 6 lines.
  • Your announcement is free of any charges.
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  • If there is an accompanying image, it must be no less than 72 dpi, preferably in jpeg.
  • Your announcement must be received no later than the Thursday 5:00pm prior to the following Tuesday publication.
  • Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation reserves the right to deny a submission if it is not within our guidelines.

Weekly Word-Scramble

Do you enjoy playing with words?  This is a fun way to see how well you can unscramble the following words.  We will reveal the unscrambled words in next week’s edition of the newsletter.  If you enjoyed this, write and give us your feedback to

Can you unscramble the following five words?

This Week’s Scrambled Words







Last Week’s Scrambled Words                               Last Week’s Unscrambled Words

ELBAIRI                                                                                LIBERIA

TURELALEGIS                                                                    LEGISLATURE

REDENG                                                                               GENDER

ANDES CIETYSO                                                                SANDE SOCIETY

EDNTUI TANNOIS                                                            UNITED NATIONS

We give you five scrambled words each week.  We hope you enjoy playing.

How You Can Help & Support Us

Here are some of the ways you can help and support our programs in 2016:

  • Donations (including in-kind donations)
  • Partnering (collaborating in one of our programs and/or events)
  • Joining our Internship or Student-Ambassadorship Program
  • Volunteering
  • Donate through employer payroll deduction (through Your Cause, United Way or the government employee giving program)

The Global Woman Center Has Support Group Sessions

Support Group next session is August 5th.  We invite you to join us at 3920 Alton Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20016 at 12:00pm.  Our Counselor on site is Willa Jones, and Amie Jallah is now in charge of the support group.  For one-on-one meetings, contact us for appointments at or call 703-818-3787.

Important Contacts in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area to Keep Handy

Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation               703-818-3787

National Child Abuse Hotline                              800-422-4453

Fairfax County Office for Women                       703-324-5730

Virginia Crime Victim Assistance                        888-887-3418

Montgomery County Abused Persons Program   240-777-4673 (24 hours)

Prince Georges County Sexual Assault                301-618-3154

Prince Georges County Child Advocacy Center  301-909-2089

Baltimore City Child Abuse Center                     410-396-6147

Frederick County Child Advocacy Center           301-600-1758

Howard County Listening Place                           410-313-2630

Washington County Child Advocacy Center       240-420-4308

District of Columbia Metropolitan Police            202-727-9099

Alexandria Victim/Witness Program                    703-746-4100

Arlington County Victim/Witness Program         703-228-7273

Loudon County Victim Witness Program             703-777-0417

Prince William County Victim/Witness               703-392-7083

Attention: The U.S. government opposes FGM/C, no matter the type, degree, or severity, and no matter what the motivation for performing it. The U.S. government considers FGM/C to be a serious human rights abuse, gender-based violence, and, when done to children, a form of child abuse. It is against the law to perform FGM/C in the United States on a girl under the age of 18 or to send or attempt to send her outside the United States so FGM/C can be performed. People who violate this law can face prison time and significant immigration consequences. Additionally, anyone who performs FGM/C on a woman 18 years old or older without her consent may be charged with a crime under other laws.  If someone performed FGM/C on you, you have not violated any U.S. laws and are not at fault, call 1-800-994-9662.