DH and I need to make a decision on whether to circumcise our baby boy (my c-section is now in 8 days) or not. I would like to know what others on this forum think about this topic. we live in the
I have three sons. One of the deciding factors for us was: What does dad have done. Is he circumcised or not? I felt that it would be best for my sons to be like their dad. First there wouldn't be any questions from kids who might not understand the answer, and second, dad can teach the boys how to care for themselves based on his experience. If you haven't been around or used to taking care of foreskin (I am a nurse, and that extra always just threw me) then it will be one more thing to learn.
All three boys were circumcised before leaving the hospital. The first and last had the plastibell procedure. I much preferred it to the straight surgical incision that left the glans exposed and red. It looked so painful, whereas the plastibell covered and protected the glans, and fell off in a couple of days exposing healed skin. With the second, we had to use vaseline and gauze with every diaper change and baby screamed when I cleaned it. I asked why they didn't do the plastibell, and they said it was physician preference. I would ask the pediatrician if it matters to you which procedure is used.
It is a personal choice, but I don't really know if there is a significant risk to have/not have it, as long as personal hygeine is taught from the start. And no, my sons do not know the difference in other boys at 3,5,and 8, but in the future when they are older and notice it, I will tell them if they ask.
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
My husband and I also thought LONG AND HARD about this topic before DS was born... and after. After some research and reading, the one thing that we decided fairly quickly was to not let the OB do it, since it was not her practice to use any anesthetic. I remember reading some stats that said pediatric urologists used anesthesia about 3 quarters of the time, pediatricians about half, and OBs only about a quarter of the time for circumcisions (I don't remember the exact numbers).
Do you know if it's the OB or the pediatrician who usually does the circumcisions in your hospital? (It varies from place to place, region to region.) In either case, find out whether they routinely use Emla cream or any other anesthetic. Even if your baby won't necessarily remember the pain, it just doesn't make any sense to me to "hurt" a perfectly healthy child, even for only a moment. (Sure, you can request that your OB use some anesthesia if they normally don't, but I tend not to like asking someone to do something that they're not used to doing, particularly when they're working on such as "sensitive area".)
Anyway, Emla cream is so easy to use that I'm shocked that everyone doesn't use it. You just need to apply it topically ~45 min in advance. I guess it's "more trouble", especially for busy OBs who are rushing off to do another delivery. (Instead of taking 5 min for a quick cut, they'd have to sit around waiting for the anesthetic cream to take effect.) But I'm convinced that this is a terrible, antiquated practice! When I did a quick medline search, it was surprising how many articles popped up on newborns feeling the pain during procedures like circumcisions. Moreover, young children who are old enough to speak and who need to get "stuck" frequently in hospitals/cancer centers quickly learn to ask for Emla, for obvious reasons.
I agree with momRNtoDO that this is a personal choice for your family. There's no right or wrong answer; whatever you decide will be fine. To us, being the same as Dad wasn't a big factor, since my husband felt that it wouldn't be something that came up frequently. Even if the boy notices the difference one day, we didn't think it would be hard to explain. However, it probably makes sense for any future brothers to be "the same" as each other.
In the U.S., fewer newborn boys are being circumcised today than previously. In some areas, particularly on the West Coast, it's less than half! And the numbers are projected to continue to decline over the next century. Here are some interesting
on circumcision rates and
By the way, you don't have to get it done in the first few days after birth. (I also had a C-section and it's much easier not to have to deal with the baby's extra fussiness and wound care afterwards. I had my own fussiness and big ol' incision to worry about!) The OBs generally won't do it after discharge, but I don't think they're the best choice for the job anyway. (My father-in-law is a retired high-risk OB and even he readily admits how little they know about babies after birth.)
I would suggest making an appointment with a pediatric urologist for an outpatient consultation during the week after you're discharged from the hospital. After all, this is their area of specialty. Even though it's a simple procedure, they are the best doctors for the task. So that's what we did; we got a lot of great information which was extremely helpful in making our decision. We were told that Emla cream can be used for circumcisions until about one month of age. (Just call your pediatrician or OB for a referral, so that you can check in with the pedi urologist's office over the phone now, before things get crazy after birth.)
I would circ. It is easier for them to care for, especially if you and your husband have no experience with that. Also, there is a risk of getting a condition later in life or even as a child where the foreskin won't retract or does and won't go back. This can lead to a need for circ at a more memorable age.
There are also some papers that state a slight increase in some disease and penile cancer in uncirc males.
I'm sure the pediatric urologist can give you more details and statistics, but I think the increased risk of infections and cancers are extremely low. Phimosis in infants and toddlers is normal and physiological, but of course in any uncirmcumcised male, there is small risk of acquired phimosis later in life requiring treatment. As far as care, we didn't have "experience" either, but there isn't anything to do in the first few years. After their foreskins become retractable, then they do have to learn to clean inside, but so do little girls - it's not any harder.
If you decide against circumcision and then later the child either wishes or needs to have it done for any reason - it's a lot more trouble when he's a young child, since he will need to be put to sleep as he won't stay still on his own. However, once he's a teenager or adult, it can be done under local anesthesia and is considered a fairly minor procedure.
Also, if you decide to go ahead, in addition to the Emla cream, I would definitely premedicate the infant with some Tylenol before the procedure.