What if I told you there were benefits to smoking cigarettes during pregnancy? Would you start (or continue) smoking?
However, as a doula I would always caution against smoking while pregnant because the risks, as you well know, far outnumber the benefits.
When I was pregnant with my first child, and not knowing the baby would be a girl, my midwife asked if I would circumcise if I had a boy. One of my first thoughts was isn’t that just what you do? The question prompted a quest for information, and four years later I’m still reeling from all I have learned about this cultural norm.
Did you know. . .
Non-religious circumcision became popular in the U.S. as a means to prevent masturbation? Along with other physicians, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of breakfast cereal fame, recommended it as a preventative measure and as punishment for boys caught masturbating, for whom the procedure would preferably be performed without anesthesia. (He recommended carbolic acid for girls’ genitals.)
Circumcision is painful and can be traumatic? The foreskin must be ripped and cut away from the glans (head) to which, in infancy, it is adhered like a fingernail to a finger. Anesthesia is not always used and even when it is, it’s not 100% effective. The kind of post-operative pain medication adults would receive is not an option for babies, so the pain may continue for days, especially when the wound comes into contact with urine and feces.
Circumcision can disrupt breastfeeding? The baby is often too agitated to latch on or falls into a deep sleep, or sleep-like state, from which it is difficult to awake to feed.
- Circumcision does not prevent UTIs or HIV or any other STD? Besides, antibiotics can treat UTIs, and condoms prevent STDs.
- The foreskin is not a useless flap of skin? It provides an immunological and physical barrier against disease and supports the growth of beneficial bacteria. It also contains thousands of nerve endings, supplies lubrication, and offers a gliding action that enhance sexual pleasure.
- Over time the exposed glans becomes keratinized and loses sensitivity as it is forced to become an external organ that must weather constant chafing from clothes? The glans of an intact penis is much like the inside of the cheek.
- Circumcision can lead to complications including infection, excessive blood loss, adhesions, excessive skin removal, buried penis, meatal stenosis, skin bridges, amputation of glans, necrosis, PTSD, scarring, bent penis, painful erections/intercourse, impotence, and death? It can also interfere with the sexual partner’s experience by causing pain, dryness, and difficulty reaching orgasm.
- There is an aftermarket for neonatal foreskin?
- The majority (approximately 80%) of the world’s men are intact?
- The U.S. and Israel are the only two countries in the world where the majority of male infants are circumcised? (In Muslim countries circumcision occurs anytime during childhood.)
- The rate of circumcision in the U.S. is declining as almost 50% of babies are now left intact?
Since 1997 females have been protected by U.S. law from routine infant circumcision?
- The female genital mutilation we abhor in other countries is ethically no different from male circumcision in the U.S.?
No major medical association in the world recommends circumcision? Some take a neutral stance while others come out against it.
The intact penis is not difficult to clean (just wipe like it’s a finger) or prone to infection or gross or smelly?
Many men are not happy about being circumcised; many circumcised men keep their sons intact; many Jewish and Muslim families keep their sons intact; and many families have circumcised older sons before learning the truth and keeping younger ones intact?
As a doula it would be irresponsible of me to suggest that smoking is a valid choice for you and your baby. The same can be said of circumcision.