You are twenty-three weeks pregnant now. If you are having a boy, you and your partner may be trying to decide if you will want to have your son circumcised. There are many reasons why parents choose to circumcise or not circumcise their son. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend routine infant circumcision, but rather, they leave the decision up to the parents. In this week’s newsletter, we are going to give you some information about circumcision. We will hopefully answer your questions and give you some basic information on how to care for your baby’s penis, circumcised or uncircumcised.
What Is Going on with Mom & Baby
Baby is the size of a grapefruit!
Baby: Baby’s crown to rump length is around 21 cm. (about the size of a grapefruit). Your baby weighs about 500-600 grams. Your baby’s lungs are developing. Alveoli are forming inside of your baby’s lungs. Alveoli are tiny sacs deep within the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon-dioxide takes place. Your baby has also developed a hand grip reflex and startle reflex now.
Mom: Your baby has gotten bigger now. He has less room to move around. This may be making you feel uncomfortable or like your organs are being cramped. You may have started having Braxton Hicks contractions now. Braxton Hicks are intermittent painless contractions or tightening of your uterus. They are sometimes called false labor contractions.
This Week’s Pregnancy Checklist
- Purchase four to six onesies or tshirts for your baby.
- Purchase a package of socks or booties for your baby.
- Review your diet. Continue making healthy food choices.
- Ask friends or family for recommendations on a pediatrician.
- Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to contractions.
- Take a new belly picture for your scrapbook or journal.
The Decision to Circumcise
Circumcision is a very personal decision. You may face criticism whether you decide to circumcise your child or not circumcise your child. You should talk to your doctor and make the decision that is best for your family.
Some reasons parents choose to circumcise
- religious reasons
- social reasons and/or concerns about teasing
- to look like dad/ family tradition
- concerned about needing to be circumcised later in life
- cleanliness/hygiene concerns
Some reasons parents choose not to circumcise
- it is not medically necessary
- to leave the decision up to the child
- to avoid putting the child through a painful procedure
- to not take away sexual pleasure. (The foreskin contains nerves that are sensitive to sexual pleasure)
- to leave son as nature intended.
Care of Your Baby’s Penis (Circumcised or Uncircumcised)
Caring for the circumcised penis
After your baby is circumcised, the tip of your baby’s penis may look raw or yellowish. The tip of his penis may be covered with a gauze pad. The dressing should be changed at every diapering to avoid infection. Petroleum jelly may be used to keep the dressing from sticking. Whether or not petroleum jelly should be used will depend on which method of circumcision was performed on your baby. You should receive instructions for proper care of your baby’s penis. Ask if you are not sure. Problems after a circumcision are rare, however, you should call your doctor right away if you notice any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or foul smelling discharge or if your baby has problems urinating. Once the penis heals, there is no special care required.
Care for the uncircumcised penis
There is no special care required for an uncircumcised penis. A simple wash with soap and water is all that is necessary. You should not retract the foreskin in order to wash underneath it. The foreskin and glans (the area underneath the foreskin) will separate as your child grows. Until this happens, do not pull back or try to forcibly retract the foreskin. Retracting the foreskin can cause tearing, scarring, or damage your son’s penis. It also can be painful. Once he is older and can retract the foreskin himself, he will want to gently retract the foreskin and rinse underneath, whenever he bathes.