Parents-to-be are often overwhelmed by the many decisions to be made surrounding the delivery and birth of a new baby. Giving birth to a baby boy is a bit more complicated because whether to circumcise or not is yet another decision that has to be made. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents appear to be pretty split on the topic, although the circumcision rate in the United States has always been at least a little over 50% in favor of circumcision for the past 15 years. There are pros and cons to circumcising your newborn, even when religious factors are not part of the consideration, so read through the pros and cons below if you’re still on the fence about what to do.
Religious and cultural preferences aside, most parents choose to circumcise for hygiene purposes. Circumcision allows the area to be cleaned and remain clean easier. The ability to properly clean the area also minimizes the risk of male urinary tract infections. Good hygiene is also important because it may prevent penile cancer in men, which makes circumcision an even more attractive option for many parents. In fact, it is likely that your Doctor or healthcare provider may recommend circumcision if you ask because circumcision makes it generally easier to practice good hygiene, especially for infants and small children. To most healthcare professionals, the benefits will outweigh the risks of circumcision.
There are several valid reasons that parents may choose to opt out of circumcision. Circumcision usually takes place within 48 hours after a child’s birth and some parents find they are not ready to have their child removed from the room and exposed to injury-no matter how small- so early in life. While the circumcision process is not dangerous, it is a surgical procedure that causes pain and will make the infant uncomfortable until the incision is properly healed. There is always a risk of infection when surgery of any sort is performed. In some instances, the circumcision does not heal properly so the incision has to be re-opened to try to prevent closing over of the circumcision. With these risks in mind, parents may opt out to avoid the surgical process and at-home healing period altogether.
Making big decisions about your newborn so far in advance can be challenging. If this is your first child, the choice is even more difficult to make. To make your decision process easier and explore the subject further check out our Preparing for Birth course to learn more about circumcision and other topics like birth plans, common procedures after birth, and more. You deserve to have all the facts and information about childbirth laid out in a clear, concise format, and our newborn courses will do just that for you.