circumcision info in pregnancy and baby books
If you are buying a pregnancy or baby book for yourself or a friend, you may wonder, "Does this book give good information on circumcision?" We have looked over many of today's popular books, and would like to provide information for your decision. Some of these books take a strong stance on different birth and health decisions, and our reviews and ratings focus solely on their circumcision/intact information.
With minor caveats, we recommend these books on the topic of circumcision. They do not all contain enough information to fully understand circumcision, foreskin, and/or intact care, but the content and guidance is pro-intact.
The Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone contains her personal story of her decision not to circumcise her son, even with the influence of her Jewish family. She includes a small amount of information about circumcision, plus instructions not to retract.
Better Birth by Denise Spatafora presents an honest explanation of the benefits of foreskin, the many risks of circumcision, and how it’s not more hygienic to be cut. There is a small piece of misinformation giving a specific retraction age, but the overall message is pro-intact.
Your Baby, Your Way by Jennifer Margulis contains an outstanding entire chapter on circumcision! Jennifer covers the financial motives behind the practice, discusses the risks and harms, details how the procedure is done, critiques the AAP's task force and their statement, recounts multiple stories of actual circumcisions, and firmly directs the reader to choose to take their baby home intact.
Partially Good, Partially Bad
These books contain a mixture of good and bad information on circumcision. Some do explain the harms, but then still present either choice as equally valid.
The Mother of all Pregnancy Books by Ann Douglas is a mix of information listing all the supposed pros of circumcision, but also being honest about the cons. It does bust some of the myths like UTI reduction and " he needs to look like Dad." The section on circumcision opens with a personal story of the author keeping her son intact.
The Everything Pregnancy Book by Paula Ford-Martin has a very short circumcision section which cites the AAP’s stance that circumcision isn't necessary, but parents should choose.
What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding by Thomas Hill presents a pretty blunt explanation of circumcision and the pain involved. He mentions the dropping US circumcision rates and seems to say it’s done only as a trend, but he also minimizes the benefits of keeping the foreskin.
Pea in a Pod Second Edition by Linda Goldberg contains over 2 pages of circumcision info. It does discuss the risks, pain, negative impact on breastfeeding, and even potential problems, for example, a description of the complication meatal stenosis. The conclusion is for parents to decide with their doctor, but this book does give mostly accurate and honest information. The intact care info is not correct, stating that most boys can retract by age 3 and should start to rinse.
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland mentions the reasons circumcision is promoted like cancer, STDs, and the AAP recommendation. It also covers risks and states that the natural choice is to keep the baby intact. The conclusion in this book is that parents should choose, but the author has made a public statement that she'll more strongly advocate against circumcision in the next edition.
The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth by Rallie McAllister and Jennifer Bright Reich deserves special mention as the WORST book we've found on this topic. It claims that circumcision reduces infections, and contains many personal stories (from the "Mommy MD" authors) all strongly in favor of circumcision. Reasons like religion and "matching dad" are supported. One of these doctors circumcised her own son, is proud of the job she did, and claims that he didn’t feel pain. There is zero positive discussion of the benefits of foreskin or of skipping the procedure.
From Dude to Dad by Chris Pegula discusses circumcision purely from a “do what you want” perspective. Though he admits that watching his son get circumcised was extremely disturbing, he says parents should just choose what they think is good and what they think leads to better health and hygiene.
A Good Birth by Anne Drapkin Lyerly briefly mentions circumcision in passing. It trivializes circumcision, ignoring any risks or foreskin functions.
These books do not address the circumcision issue at all.
The Everything Green Baby Book by Jenn Savadge
What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 5th Edition by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazelay says to see What to Expect The First Year for circumcision information.
Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
The Mommy Docs Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth by Yvonne Bohn, Allison Hill, and Alane Park