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Circumcision: At Birth or a Rite of Passage?


It all goes back to ancient times when circumcision is routinely done to boys as a rite of passage from childhood and full acceptance to a group or society.


But nowadays, did you ever think that you have the decision to have your son circumcised or not?  You might be contemplating whether to have him circumcised when he’s still a baby or wait until a certain age, or maybe not at all. This article will give you information about circumcision for newborns and what the beliefs are that surround this practice in this modern day.


What is male circumcision?


It is the surgical removal of the foreskin to expose the tip of the penis.


Why do boys have circumcision nowadays?


There are many reasons why boys get circumcised. It might be for hygienic purposes, medical advice, social and community acceptance, or a cultural need.



How is newborn circumcision done?


Baby boys are circumcised one to ten days after birth and this is usually done in the nursery.  The baby is awake and will be positioned to lie on his back with his arms and legs restrained.  After the penis and surrounding area have been prepared for surgery, an aesthetic cream or injected aneasthesia will be applied to the base of the penis. A special clamp or plastic ring will be attached to the penis to remove the foreskin. After the operation, the penis will be covered with petroleum jelly and wrapped loosely with bandage to prevent the wound from sticking to his diaper. This procedure will only take 10 minutes with very minimal bleeding.


Recovery will take seven to 10 days. The tip will be sore and tender at first, as it appears red, swollen, and bruised.  There might be a yellow crust at the tip of the penis but this will soon subside as the penis heals. Newborns are said to heal much quicker and experience minimal pain from the ordeal compared to older boys, which is why circumcision is often decided upon after giving birth.



Should you circumcise your baby?


Many experts believe that circumcision is not necessary anymore. They ascertain that there is no medical reason for “standard” circumcision for all boys. Circumcision is a choice and no medical institution requires routine neonatal circumcision.


They state that foreskin is not a birth defect and can later be retracted in life. The foreskin is not fully separable from the head of the penis in about 96% of newborn boys, but by three years, the foreskin can be retracted in 80% to 90% of uncircumcised boys.    


They also debate that children should be protected from permanent body alteration inflicted to them without their consent in the name of parental preference, religion, culture, and social acceptance.


On the medical side, benefits of circumcision include easier cleaning of the penis, decreased instances of Urinary Tract Infection and other diseases, and prevention of penile problems such as Phimosis, a known condition in which the foreskin is inflamed and causes pain and difficulty during retraction.



Whatever your decision is, remember that you are deciding for you and your child. Culturally, the Philippines still views the practice as a rite of passage, but the notion is slowly shifting as studies and experts educate parents that circumcision is a choice rather than a requirement. You may find yourself debating whether newborn circumcision will save your son from future physical and emotional pain or if waiting for his decision as he grows older is best for his well being. Weigh the facts and consequences with your doctor to help you arrive at a conclusion.

What's in a Name


Naming your child can be challenging and not everybody seems to invest much time and thought into it. Your baby will have his moniker for the rest of his life so you definitely want to give him or her a name that will stand the test of time.

Here in the Philippines, we have many names that are considered ‘unique’.  I remember when Gwneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple. The whole world thought she had lost her mind, but over here we wondered what the big deal was. Apple is quite a nice and normal name in the Philippines.


We also have some names that are truly bizarre and which makes me wonder if their parents named them on a whim or as a joke.


When it came to naming my two sons, my husband and I started a list as soon as we knew what gender the babies were.  You don’t realize it before you start the task of finding the perfect name for your child, but it is quite a challenge to come up with names that BOTH of you love. By the time my 9th month of pregnancy rolled around (both times), David and I had a shortlist of 2 final names. We also agreed that we needed to meet our babies first and decide which name suited them. Kieran, which means the dark haired one, won out because he had a head full of dark hair when he was born and we thought the name was perfect for him. With our second son, we had our final two name choices and I told David that if he looked similar to Kieran, I would love to choose the name Kalon (which means beautiful in greek and mighty warrrior in Irish).


Ultimately the name you decide on is your choice as the parent. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when you are thinking of a name for your baby.


1. Make sure you love the name you choose for your child because you will be saying (and screaming) that name more times than you will ever say your own. 

2. Try to pick a name that doesn’t require a spelling bee champion to master or you will subject your child to people forever misspelling his name. 

3. If you go with an  inimitable name, it is meaningful if it has a significant story or meaning behind it for you. Your kid should be able to understand why you decided to name them something so strange.

4. Choose a middle name that you love, you may end up using that as your child’s main name in the end. 

5. Make sure that you and your husband/partner both love the name you choose. You both want to be happy. 

6. Always match the names you are thinking of with your last name. That way you can decide if you love them together. 

7. Don’t rush the process. If you haven’t chosen a name by the time you give birth,  you can wait to meet your baby and see what name you think suits him best. 


Whether you want to go traditional or left field, just remember to put some real thought into it and take your time because your offspring will be stuck with the name you choose for life.

Dealing With Pregnancy Fatigue

Wondering why the sofa suddenly seems more inviting than usual? Or why you feel so tired and sleepy most of the time? It is normal to experience fatigue during pregnancy and here are some of the things you may want to know about it.



What To Expect


First Trimester


This is the period when your body goes through a lot of changes. You utilize a huge amount of energy to create a life support system for the growing fetus. Some changes include increase in blood production and elevated hormone levels such as estrogen (which helps the fetus develop) and progesterone (which aids in enlarging the uterus to accommodate a full-term baby). All of these combined make you sleepy and tired.


Second Trimester


As your body adapts to the changes, your energy level will increase and you will feel like your old self again. This is the best time to go out, meet friends, and shop for your upcoming baby’s needs. Fatigue will normally return by your seventh month.


Third Trimester


You are getting ready for the birth of your child so expect more demands to your body than ever. The extra weight can make you uncomfortable, causing back pains, frequent urination, and heartburn, all making it hard to sleep and decreasing your energy level.


Managing Fatigue


Listen To Your Body


Follow what your body tells you. If you feel exhausted and worn out, then take a break and relax for a while. Do not push yourself as this might be too stressful for your body and lead to situations like pre-term labor.


Sleep Early


Make it a habit to hit the sack earlier than your normal sleep schedule. Two to three hours more snoozes and having a 15-minute catnap during the day can definitely boost your energy.


Eat Healthy


Pregnant women need an extra 300 calories everyday. Snack up on fruits, vegetables, iron rich foods like beans and lentils, and protein such as lean meats and eggs. Lessen caffeine intake as this may worsen your frequent urination and hydrate yourself with water or fruit juices.


Lessen Work


Get all the help you can. If a relative volunteers to help you out with some of the house chores, then by all means accept it. If you have older children, let them help too by washing the dishes and cleaning up after themselves.


Request for shortened hours at work or change in schedule to what is more convenient for you, and take advantage of your sick leaves if you do not feel well.  




Even if it seems that you have no strength left, taking a short brisk walk can actually make you feel better and improve your sleep at night. Take note that all exercises should be mild to moderate unless your doctor advises you otherwise.