Circumcising Your Baby

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on June 17, 2021
Mother holding baby

You’re having a boy! Now what?

One of the earliest decisions you'll make for them is whether or not to have them circumcised. Despite some misconceptions, circumcising your baby is mostly a family decision, not a medical one. So how do you choose?

Personal and Family Considerations

When you sit down with your partner to discuss circumcision, consider:

  • Your religious or cultural beliefs -- as well as your families’ beliefs
  • How both of you feel about circumcision, in general
  • If the baby's father is circumcised or not. Does it matter if your son's penis looks different from their male role model's?

The Truth About Health and Circumcision

An uncircumcised penis is easy to care for and keep clean. So improved hygiene isn't a reason to choose circumcision.

There are some potential health benefits of circumcision. While uncommon, circumcised males do have slightly lower risks of:

Since men don’t have a high risk of these in the first place, lowering their risks isn't a huge benefit.

Decided to Circumcise -- What to Know

The sooner you schedule your baby's circumcision, the better. Make sure an experienced professional does the procedure. In some states, an obstetrician does it in the hospital 24-48 hours after birth and prior to hospital discharge. In other states, pediatricians do it at the first office visit. A religious leader who is trained in circumcision is another option.

Circumcision doesn't have to be as painful for your baby as it sounds. There are pain management methods that can help to significantly reduce the pain of the procedure for your newborn. Before the procedure takes place, be sure to ask what your options are for relieving your baby's pain. Also, make sure you find out:

  • How and when the circumcision will be done
  • What the potential risks are and how often they occur
  • How to care for your son's recently circumcised penis

Remember that there is no right or wrong decision. Your baby boy will be just fine either way!

Show Sources

"Circumcision statement." American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics 103(3); March 1999.

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