Sheila Kitzinger is one of the leading authorities on childbirth outside the US. Her "The New Pregnancy & Childbirth", first published in 1980, has run into four editions. The 2011 edition is unchanged.
Her condemnation of circumcision is total:
THE FIRST HOURS OF LIFE
THE QUESTION OF
Circumcision is an unnecessary operation. It can be dangerous, too. It may result in excessive bleeding or infection. Sometimes the penis is damaged irreparably. Some babies have to be rushed to an intensive care unit because of complications. Occasionally a baby dies.
Newborn babies feel pain. In fact, they may feel it more acutely than adults. An adult knows that the pain caused by an operation will end. A baby cannot know this. Amputation of the foreskin, even if it is done with local anaesthetic, is an intensely painful and traumatic procedure. It is true
Although few doctors still defend circumcision as medically necessary, they are often slow to criticize it because they believe that babies cannot feel much, and they are concerned that to challenge circumcision may appear to be anti-Semitic. Men who were circumcised themselves may believe that it never did them any harm. Some parents want a son to be circumcised so that he can be the same as "everyone else" - an argument that is also used to support the practice of female clitoridectomy and infibulation in Egypt and Somalia.
The foreskin protects the tip of the penis. You do not need to retract it or work it loose. Trying to do so may tear delicate structures and hurt the baby. By the time a boy reaches adolescence it will be more flexible.
If you are Jewish or Muslim you may want to welcome your baby into your faith in a ceremony of blessing and thanksgiving that does not entail mutilation. Do not expect grandparents to find this an easy adjustment. You may need to acknowledge the pain that your decision causes them. But ultimately it is a choice that you make.
- p 379
|The above is taken from the UK edition, published by Dorling Kindersley
Read reviews and order the US edition, "The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth", published by Knopf
Other related pages: