Newborn Care: The Circumcision Decision


To circumcise your newborn baby or not is a big decision for new parents to make. There is a lot of controversy regarding circumcision and it can be a challenge to find factual, unbiased information. 

There is also a shifting cultural perception and recent discussion in the news: Time For Parents to Consider the The Acceptability of Infant Male Circumcision.  

Our practice at Buddha Belly is to be 100% non-judgemental and supportive of our clients and their decisions. From our role as childbirth educators we provide this information for those searching more knowledge. 

Here are some quick facts and helpful resources to assist in your research and decision making process: 

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend universal routine newborn circumcision. 

2. The alleged potential health and hygiene benefits of circumcision are questionable and weak. Do the benefits of male circumcision outweight the risks? A critique of the proposed CDC guidelines, explains more.  To quote it: “It is not altogether clear that a minor reduction in the absolute risk of certain infections or diseases – whose prevalence in developed nations is generally low, and whose occurrence can typically be avoided by other, less injurious means – is worth the ‘trade-off’ of losing a part of one’s penis.” – Frontiers in Pediatrics

3. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that only 33% of adult males worldwide (aged 15+) are circumcised, and roughly 67% of males are intact. – Wikipedia 

4. The rate of circumcision has dropped rapidly over the years

5.  Only about 10% of the world’s males are circumcised for non-religious reasons, and more of those men live in the U.S. than in any other single country. – Evidence Based Birth  

6. Potential complications from circumcision include excessive bleeding, infection, surgical injury or complications from anesthesia and more. Premature babies or those with blood clotting disorders should not be circumcised at birth. – Stanford Medicine

7. Although pain treatments are available, no treatment can completely eliminate pain during the procedure, and pain may continue afterwards as the wound heals.Evidence Based Birth  

8. It is fairly easy to keep an uncircumcised penis clean with gentle bathing. You don’t have to do anything special. Just wipe the area with baby wipes and wash with warm soapy water. Our postpartum doulas can help new parents caring for circumcised or intact babies. 

9. There is no need to pull or force the foreskin back. By three years of age, 90 percent of intact boys have fully retractable foreskins. Once the foreskin retracts easily, it becomes a part of normal hygiene to pull back the foreskin and cleanse beneath it during a bath. – Dr. Sears. 

A very thorough resource for in depth research and facts on all aspects of circumcision is the excellent article Evidence and Ethics on: Circumcision published on the Evidence Based Birth Website. The article was written by Rebecca Dekker PhD, RN and Anna Bertone, MPH on July 19, 2019.

It is quite a long article but it is conveniently broken down into sections. You can scan through for answers to your questions or sections that interest you. The authors take a deep dive into everything from: anatomy, the circumcision procedure, where did circumcision come from, worries about teasing or bullying, heath risks and benefits, how common it is, complications, pain and more. We found the section “Why do parents choose non-religious circumcision today?” to be extremely eye-opening with survey results from actual parents and myth-busting of common held ideas. 

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading