Why Circumcision: A Cutting Decision

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To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question.

Let’s explore the reasons why circumcision is the choice some parents make for their sons and why some don’t.

What is a circumcision?

A newborn circumcision is the process of surgically removing the foreskin or tissue covering the head of the penis. The procedure is usually done 1-2 days after birth. The Jewish faith performs the procedure on the 8th day after birth.

The procedure is relatively painless (using a local anesthetic), takes a few minutes for infants and about an hour for adult males, and heals in about 1 week for babies and 4-6 weeks for adults.

Why parents decide to do it

The topic of circumcision is still hotly debated. We here at the Birthing Center of NY want to help you to make the decision on whether or not to circumcise your son. The only way to help you decide is by educating you on the pros and cons of the procedure.

Pros

  • Easier to keep the penis clean
  • Decreases risk of urinary tract infections
  • Helps protect against penile cancer
  • Helps prevent balanitis (inflammation of the glans area)
  • Reduces risk of some sexually transmitted diseases
  • Helps prevent phimosis (condition where you cannot retract the foreskin)
  • It helps prevent balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin)
  • Reduces the occurrence of paraphimosis which is the inability of returning the foreskin back to its original location
  • Religious

Cons

  • Some very low risk of infection after procedure
  • Painful in adults  – open to interpretation for babies
  • Risk of infection or injury to the penis
  • Irritation of the glans
  • Increased chance of inflammation

All in all, the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. The American Academy of Pediatrics has made this conclusion but stops short of recommending it universally.

How is it Done?

They give a local anesthetic (cream or injected – ask your doctor to see how he will be managing the pain for your baby). Then the doctor quickly clips the foreskin. After this, there is usually no post-operative pain management needed. If the baby seems fussy or is in pain, then you can give him acetaminophen. Keep the penile area clean – bathe baby in a warm bath daily for about a week. Keep a topical emollient on him until he is healed and whenever you do a diaper change push back the skin around the tip of the penis gently. This is to avoid having the tender skin sticking to the glans as it heals.

When to Call a Doctor

Go to the nearest emergency department (ER) if any if these things occur:

  • Baby has difficulty urinating (you will be able to tell if you notice his diaper is less wet than usual or not wet at all)
  • If he develops a fever
  • Baby not eating well
  • Starts vomiting
  • Has pus/yellow liquid coming out from the incision
  • Has redness that has spread down his legs and up his abdomen
  • Some bleeding is normal however if it becomes excessive then go to the ER

Make sure to leave the gauze dressing the doctor put on him as long as possible however do not reposition it once it falls of. It should fall off on its own.

Have Questions? Feel free to contact us anytime and we will be more than happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. Our website is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for more resources to help you with your journey with your beautiful new baby.