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AAP: Health Benefits of Circumcision Outweigh the Risks


What to Ask Your Doctor

For many new parents, this is the first medical decision they are making for their child, and it’s a tough one. The new policy states that parents should get clear, unbiased information from their OB/GYN or pediatrician during pregnancy, which is when the decision on whether to circumcise is usually made.

Dr. Brady suggests discussing with your doctor the health benefits and risks, and doing your homework to make sure that if you’re considering circumcision, whoever is performing it has been properly trained. It should be performed in a sterile environment with analgesia for pain relief. Parents should be clear on how to care for their newborn’s penis, cut or uncut.

Plus: 8 Times Your Pediatrician Want You to Call

Then, after talking to your doctor, it’s up to you. “Parents need to make the decision they feel is the best for their child,” says Dr. Brady. “We don’t want to put anyone in a position where they are being told what they have to do.”

The new policy statement will be published in the September issue of Pediatrics. It is also endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Considering circumcision? Ask your doctor this:

Who will perform it? Circumcisions are typically done by an ob/gyn or a pediatrician. If your child's will be performed by a religious person, make sure he has been properly trained and get references from other families.

Where will it be done? A medical doctor will do the circumcision in the hospital. Religious practitioners need to create a similar sterile environment—sanitizing all equipment, wearing gloves, cleaning the skin with an antiseptic.

How do I care for it? Clean a circumcised penis with soap and water; call the doc if redness persists more than a week or crusty sores develop. Clean an uncircumcised penis with soap and water and do not attempt to retract the foreskin.