The research study was conducted with the aim of gaining information regarding the birth experiences of Somali women in Canada who had undergone female genital mutilation. More specifically, the researcher sought to gain an understanding of the Somali women's perceptions regarding their care during pregnancy and birth and also their female genital mutilation experience (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000).
The literature reviewed was related to the topic being explored by the authors. Because the research topic was related to female genital mutilation, the authors did an excellent job discussing literature related to female genital mutilation. Specifically, the authors described various forms of female genital mutilation. The authors also examined the problems experienced by mutilated women during sexual intercourse as well as during birth. Further, the authors described the health consequences of female genital mutilation. Therefore, the literature reviewed was relevant to the current study. Nearly all the articles reviewed were up-to-date. Out of the five articles reviewed, four were current (published within the past five years of the date of the publication of the current article).
The study is important because its findings are useful to physicians and other healthcare professionals in the provision of quality healthcare services during birth and pregnancy to women who have undergone female genital mutilation. The authors articulated the significance of the study well. This is because they discussed the challenges experienced by mutilated women during birth and pregnancy (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000).
The authors did not link the current topic of study to any relevant theory. The hypotheses related to the study were also not stated. Hypotheses were not relevant in this study because the study was largely exploratory or descriptive. Hypotheses are only appropriate in a study when predictions are being made. In the current study, significant knowledge in the topic being explored was not there to allow for prediction to be made. Consequently, the authors were justified not using hypotheses.
The dependent or outcome variables of the study included women's experiences of childbirth in Canada. Some of these experiences included women's fear of seeking prenatal care as manifested by delayed prenatal care, women's opinion regarding the impact of mutilation on childbirth, and preferred companions during childbirth. On the other hand, the independent variable of the study was women's experiences of female circumcision. Women's experiences of female circumcision were mainly about the events surrounding mutilation such as the way the wound was sutured, whether the wound was cleaned or not, how mutilation was done, the age of circumcision, who conducted circumcision, who initiated circumcision, and the reasons for circumcision. The authors employed interview research method to gain insight into women's experiences of circumcision, pregnancy, and childbirth (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000).
The research design employed in this study survey research design. The interview method was related to the aim of the study because the questionnaire used to gather data explored women's experience of childbirth in Canada. Additionally, the questionnaire items used were based on the literature review. It is also worth noting that the close-ended interview questions addressed questions relevant to the topic of the study such as their biography, history of pregnancy, early experience of circumcision, childbirth experience in Canada, their attitudes towards the conditions in Canada regarding mutilation (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000).
The participants in this study comprised of 432 Somali women who had given birth in Canada five years before the time of recruitment for the study (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000). The research subjects were recruited into the study through snowball sampling technique, a type of non-probability sampling method. Because non-probability sampling technique was used to recruit participants to the study, the sample is not representative of the population. Consequently, the results of this stud lack generalizability. Therefore, the results of this study can only be applied to the sample under study. Bias arises in snowball sampling because all the individuals in the population are not given the same chances of being in the final sample. Bias further occurs because the initial research participants recruit individuals they know well. Consequently, it is highly likely that the final sample comprises of participants with the same traits and characteristics. Therefore, there is a high likelihood that the final sample obtained by the researcher is a small subgroup of the overall population.
The measures used to collect data in this study included interviews, questionnaires, and focused group discussions. The interview questions used were developed based on the literature reviews and focus group discussions. The interview questions were also pilot tested. Even though the use of pilot-tested interview questions, as well as items developed through literature review, enhances reliability and validity, the reliability and validity are questionable because the authors did not report the reliability and validity coefficients of the questionnaire.
Analysis and Results
The main findings of the study showed that all the participants had undergone some form of female genital mutilation. Most of these women (415) were victims of infibulation while the remaining ones had experienced Sunna (2), excision (1), while 1 did not undergo mutilation. The type of mutilation undergone by 13 of the women participants was unknown. Lastly, 1 of the women was not circumcised. Findings from the study also indicated that most of the women feared approaching healthcare professionals for prenatal care during pregnancy. Instead, they approached family members and friends for prenatal care while some sought help from family doctors. Another important finding of the study is that most of the women did not believe that female circumcision would affect. Most of the women were also dissatisfied with the care they were receiving from health care professionals. Moreover, most of the women reported dissatisfaction with the lack of knowledge by the healthcare staff regarding their health care needs during birth. Lastly, the health practitioners did not show cultural diversity when caring for the pregnant women (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000).
Conclusion and Limitations
Based on the results of the study, the authors outlined some implications for practice, policy, and research. First, the authors noted that there is a need for changes in health practice for women who have undergone female genital mutilation. Some of the proposed changes incorporation of needs of circumcised women, cultural sensitivity when offering care, and respect to women preferred method of childbirth (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000). The authors further noted that caregivers need to be educated so as to make them interact appropriately with women who have undergone female genital mutilation (Chalmers & Hashi, 2000). The main limitations of the study include lack of generalizability of the findings. This is because the sample for the study was recruited through non-probability sampling technique. The study is helpful to the social work field because it helps the health practitioners to appropriately address the health concerns of women with experiences of female genital mutilation.
Chalmers, B., & Hashi, K. O. (2000). 432 Somali women's birth experiences in Canada after earlier female genital mutilation. Birth (Berkeley, Calif.), 27(4), 227-234.
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