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To Circumcise or Not?

Hey Tranquility Tribe! There seems to be about a million and one decisions that the world throws at you when you’re becoming a parent, and if you’re expecting a baby boy, there’s yet another one to add to the list: to circumcise or not to circumcise? This week, we’re going to learn all about circumcision and the pros and cons of the procedure to help you out with making the best informed decision that you can!

As always, let’s get started with the basics - what exactly is circumcision? It’s a surgical procedure to remove the foreskin (the hood of skin that covers the head of the penis), done typically within a few days after birth. The procedure itself is relatively quick and simple. The penis is numbed via injection or topical cream, a clamp is attached to the penis and the foreskin is removed - all in the span of about ten minutes. It then takes about seven to ten days to heal, during which the bandage should be changed upon every diaper change. Some doctors use a plastic ring instead of a bandage, which will fall off on it’s own.

One of the most common reasons that parents choose to have the procedure done is for religious reasons, such as is often done within the Jewish and Islamic faiths. Others do it out of hygienic concerns or in an effort to prevent possible health complications. Some do it simply for aesthetic purposes or even oThe American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend routine circumcision, but believes that it should absolutely be an option to those parents who want to do it.

As with any decision when it comes to your baby, there are both benefits and risks. Easier hygiene is definitely one that many parents point too. While keeping the penis clean is a much simpler process when the foreskin is removed, boys can easily be taught and reminded to wash beneath the foreskin. Removal of the foreskin is also thought to decrease risk for a myriad of genital health issues, including urinary tract infections during the first year of life, sexually transmitted infections and even penile cancer - however, the risk for these issues is already pretty low in the first place. As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of bleeding and/or infection due to the process. 

Some parents choose to not have their son circumcised so that he can make the decision for himself later in life. While this is an option, it’s important to keep in mind that the later in life a circumcision is performed, the more painful the experience becomes along with an increased risk for complications.

At the end of the day, this is a deeply personal decision meant to be made by you and your partner. As with most matters of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood, people will have their opinions (and strong opinions at that!), but you need to strip down all the chatter to what you believe is personally best for your baby boy. Education is always the best tool when it comes to matters like these, so continue to educate yourself about the pros and cons and make the best informed choice that you can! 

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