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Myths and misconceptions: Midwives´ perception of the vaginal opening or hymen and virginity
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nursing.
2013 (English)In: British journal of midwifery, ISSN 0969-4900, Vol. 21, no 2, 108-115 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ideas and misconceptions about the vaginal opening, hymen and virginity are widely held in many societies. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions of the vaginal opening, the hymen and its connection with bleeding, sexual intercourse, physical activity and virginity verification among an international group of midwives. An online questionnaire about the topic was emailed to midwives who attended the International Confederation of Midwives' (ICM) Congress in Glasgow. The respondents (n=480) represented five continents with European delegates dominating the attendees. Two thirds (66%) of the respondents believed that girls are born with a covering membrane that breaks during the first vaginal intercourse and 52% thought that the membrane breaks during physical activities. Fifteen percent connected bleeding with the first vaginal intercourse and 21% stated that virginity can be verified by a gynecological examination. Midwives play a significant role in improving the sexual and reproductive health of women, thus in order to challenge long-held biomedical 'truths', midwives must become conscious and knowledgeable about how the myths surrounding the hymen contribute to gender inequalities and health disparities in women. A first step is to implement gender perspectives in midwifery education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EBSCO Industries; Mark Allen Publishing Ltd , 2013. Vol. 21, no 2, 108-115 p.
National Category
Nursing Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-81060OAI: diva2:652549
Available from: 2013-10-01 Created: 2013-10-01 Last updated: 2015-02-12Bibliographically approved

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Christianson, MonicaEriksson, Carola
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