When male babies are born, they have a piece of skin that covers the end of the penis, called the foreskin. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin to expose the tip of the penis.
A newborn must be in stable condition and healthy to be circumcised. If a parent decides to have her baby circumcised, the procedure is typically performed in the first few days after birth.
Making the Decision to Circumcise Your Baby
Circumcision is an elective procedure, so it’s your choice whether to have your son circumcised or not. In most cases, there is no medical need for a circumcision and it is not required by law or by hospital policy.
We recommend that parents discuss the benefits and risks of circumcision so they can make an informed decision. Ask yourself why you may or may not want your son to be circumcised. Some parents may want their sons circumcised for religious, social, or cultural reasons. Ask yourself if it matters whether your son looks like other men in the family or his peers.
Whether or not to circumcise your newborn is an important decision. Circumcision could be riskier if performed later in a boy’s life, so if you have any questions or concerns, discuss them with us during your pregnancy so you’ll have enough time to make an informed decision.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Newborn Circumcision
Research suggests that there may be some medical benefits to circumcision, such as reducing the risk for:
- Foreskin infections;
- Urinary tract infections;
- Penile cancer;
- Sexually transmitted diseases;
- Phimosis, which is a condition in uncircumcised males that makes foreskin retraction impossible.
Complications from a circumcision are rare; however, every surgery carries some risk. Reports show that complications occur in just 1 in 200 to 1 in 500 circumcised newborn males. The most frequent complications are minor bleeding and local infection, both of which can be easily treated by your child’s doctor.
Call your pediatrician right away if:
- Your baby does not urinate normally within 6 to 8 hours after the circumcision;
- There is persistent bleeding;
- There is redness around the tip of the penis that worsens after 3 to 5 days.
Care of the Uncircumcised Newborn
If you decide not to have your son circumcised, it is vitally important that you keep the uncircumcised penis clean. Gently wash the genital area while bathing your baby. You do not need to do any special cleansing, such as with cotton swabs or antiseptics.
The foreskin does not fully retract for a number of years and should never be forced. Once the foreskin fully retracts, around age 3, boys should be taught how to clean it properly by washing underneath the foreskin every day.
If you are had or are having a baby boy and would like more information regarding circumcision for your son, call our office today to schedule a consultation so we can address your questions and concerns.