Circumcising Your Baby

Medically Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on July 11, 2023
2 min read

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?

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?

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:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in little boys
  • Certain STDs in men
  • Penile cancer

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

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. It has become common for the obstetrician to do circumcisions in the office after discharge within the 1st week after delivery. 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!