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Big Decisions for Your Little One: Many factors come into play when considering circumcision and vaccinations.
At this point in your pregnancy, you may already know whether your bundle of joy will be a little man, or a sweet girl. If your special delivery comes with his own package, you'll be making a choice about whether or not you'll be circumcising. For some, cultural or religious beliefs will dictate your decision; for others, a bit of research can help you to weigh your options.
Consider that many insurance companies deem circumcision a cosmetic procedure; so if you do opt for it, you may be paying out of pocket. The procedure is usually handled within the first days after birth, before you leave the hospital. For some babies, the procedure may be postponed, if there are other health concerns or issues due to pre-term birth. The procedure itself won't take very long, but you will need to care for and dress the wound as it heals over the next week or two.
Studies have been done to show benefits of circumcision, and other studies have been done to show the benefits of leaving boys uncircumcised. The AAP has the official position that because circumcision does not provide any obvious and necessary health benefits, it’s a personal decision that is best left up to the parents.
Another topic to consider before your baby arrives is your approach to routine vaccinations. Vaccinations have helped prevent illness or death from what used to be common childhood diseases and are important not just for your baby, but for protecting the health of other babies or those whose immune systems may be weakened. There are also some vaccines that you can receive safely during your pregnancy to help protect your baby, including the pertussis (whooping cough) and flu vaccines.
Some parents may wish to talk to their doctor about following an alternative vaccine schedule and of course, you should always gather full information regarding which vaccines will be given, what they do, and what side effects may result. You can choose to delay specific vaccines, or to opt out of certain ones altogether, but it is important to talk to your pediatrician about your options, and the risks and benefits involved in any choice you make.
Discussing these options before the arrival of your little one can help you to be better prepared for the decisions you will make. Make sure to establish communication with your partner regarding your options. A well-informed parent is a powerful thing. Knowing your options will help you to feel secure that the choices you make are the right ones for your family.