Whether or not to circumcise your baby is a personal decision often determined by a variety of social, cultural, medical, or religious circumstances. Parents have the right to choose what they believe is best for their newborn and typically undergo extensive research before deciding what’s best for their family.
So, what is the process of circumcision? Once parents decide to move forward, about an hour before the procedure, doctors use an anesthetic to numb the baby’s penis. The area is then sterilized and the excess skin on the penis is clamped and cut. Finally, the physician covers the penis in bandages or gauze to ensure the area is not irritated when rubbed against the diaper. Complications are rare but may include redness, swelling, pain or infection. Healing usually occurs within 7-10 days but remember to contact your doctor if you notice anything unusual.
Many believe that circumcision can decrease the likelihood of urinary tract infections in early childhood, penis cancer later in life, and contraction of certain sexually transmitted diseases and infections. However, there isn’t enough evidence for doctors to recommend it as a medical necessity.
When parents decide to circumcise their sons, doctors in the U.S. suggest it be done in the first few days after birth since they are less likely to experience complications versus waiting to have the procedure done later in life. Newborns are less likely to irritate the area whereas older boys and adult men may experience more discomfort.
Whatever you decide, know that support is available to help you and your baby through the process. Learn more about the pros and cons of circumcision here.
Along with circumcision, there are plenty of other decisions that need to be made before your baby is born. Should you get an epidural? Home birth or hospital birth? Should you bank your baby’s Cord Blood? We’re here to help!