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Circumcision: The part of home birth no one talks about

It’s one thing to go granola and decide to have a home birth, but what are you supposed to do if you want to circumcise your son? Finding a doctor willing to do an out-of-hospital circumcision is much harder than it seems.

The home birth for my second son went off without a hitch. While I moved around quite a bit in the pushing stage of labor, my second son was ultimately born on a birthing stool in my bedroom. The precise location of his birth was almost an afterthought. I was the most comfortable at home, I was a low-risk pregnancy following my first son’s birth at a birthing center, I was paying out-of-pocket and I had a good relationship with my midwife.

Our trusted midwife offered all of the services that you would find following a hospital birth including a newborn screening, antibiotic ointment for the baby’s eyes and a vitamin K shot. What she did not offer, and what we were certainly in need of, was a doctor who would perform a circumcision following a home birth.

As a word of warning, don’t even attempt to Google the word “mohel” without learning how to spell it first. That’s a good 15 minutes of your life you’ll never get back. As another word of warning, don’t expect a traveling rabbi skilled in circumcision to be available anywhere in South Texas.

There is no mobile circumcision doc on speed dial if you forgo a hospital birth. Short of ordering a DIY kit on the internet (I kid, I kid), circumcision options are slim. As a home birther, and even a birthing center birther, your choice boils down to scouring your local area for a well-reviewed pediatrician who will perform an in-office infant circumcision.

One home birthing forum mom recalls her experience, “I had my son circumcised. We waited till he was 3 weeks old and had it done by a pediatric urologist at his office. It was quick and painless and done well.”

For me, this involved calling dozens of local doctors, only to be shot down. After locating one of the only local pediatricians who performed in-office infant circumcision in an elite area of town, we learned that the “elective” procedure wasn’t covered by insurance. We once again had to pay out-of-pocket.

After all of my time writing on circumcision, I now know what the typical response to this dilemma will be: Why would you go out of your way and pay extra money to mutilate your baby for no good reason?

Circumcision and home birth are tough topics that always bring out the angry mob with pitchforks. In fact, most “crunchy” home birth moms are afraid to ask this question precisely for that reason: judgment from other natural moms who may not agree with their choice.

But for many moms, there will come a time when both of these choices intersect. Parents who birth at home may feel like the circumcision decision has been taken away — when the truth is, it just requires a little more legwork to get the procedure done.

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