By Cynthya Dzialo, Certified Birth Doula
I tell my clients that just like an episiotomy and forcep delivery, circumcision was once considered a routine procedure that surrounded labor and birth. In today's birth climate, clients question the old standards and educate themselves on all the options available to them. Care providers can tell you about the medical risks and benefits of male circumcision but for even more information and access to medical studies, www.circumcision.org has it all, including a video of how the procedure is done. I still cannot watch more than the first eight seconds so be warned that this website is graphic and includes photographs!
Psychology Today wrote a six-part series about circumcision starting with myths and ending with male anatomy. It is well written with references for more data on the subject and I encourage you to read all of it. As with any medical procedure, routine or not, risk is involved. Over 100 newborns die each year in the USA, mostly from loss of blood and infection. (Van Howe 1997 & 2004, Bollinger 2010). Educate yourself and ask about possible benefits and risks associated with all newborn procedures.
Update January 2015: A new article outlines the research that demonstrates the relationship between circumcision and psychological harm. The authors have appealed to the CDC and Congress to reevaluate their policy in light of the psychological harm it will cause infants, children, and teens.
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