Egilshay. (2008) Unzipped (creative commons license)Deinfibulation, is the surgical procedure to open up the closed vagina of FGM type III 4 and is often performed multiple times such as; on the wedding night, when the husband goes away for any significant period of time and returns, and prior to childbirth. This process is usually followed by reinfibulation. 13

This ‘consummation’ process begins on the couple’s wedding night when the tight scar tissue is cut either by the husband or a traditional birth attendant, or forced open by the husband to allow penetration, and is reported to lead to psychological trauma and sexual dysfunction both in anticipation of and following this event. 14


“Another woman during her first night of marriage had her vaginal opening forcefully cut by a knife which he carried on him, as he could not penetrate the tight opening. She suffered severe bleeding which nearly caused her to die” 10c

In the UK it is recommended that Deinfibulation be carried out in the antenatal period, ideally around 20 weeks gestation to reduce the risk of miscarriage and to allow time for healing before the birth. However deinfibulation can be carried out in the first stage of labour by an anterior midline episiotomy, or during the second stage when the head is crowning. This should always be carried out under adequate analgaesia such as an epidural to prevent psychological trauma. 15

See antenatal and intrapartum guidelines for more detail