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Study: Circumcising newborns may increase risk of sudden death


How old were you when you were circumcised? If your papa and mama decided to circumcise you at tender age, probably the pain isn’t in the mind. If you can recall the life-changing moment, as well share the experience with us at the end of the story.

Circumcision is a communal cultural practice among many African communities and the world at large.

Newborn cutting
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Although, in some settings the male cutting is done at tender age, others are performed at older age. Furthermore, the habit of circumcising newborns is not unusual though in modern sets.

It is on this backdrop that a new study has come up to warn parents and guidance on the health danger of such practice on newborn male babies.

A UK based study states that the cutting will likely lead to a medical condition called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – the sudden and unexplained death of a healthy baby.

Although the practice is common and statistical reported deaths isn’t that alarming, according to the study, the underlying issue emanates from the process itself.

This could be the pain or even excessive bleeding and by extension, the separation of the child from the mother after the procedure.

More boys affected

The researchers, however, noted with concern that since male infant circumcision is custom, many male babies lose their lives through the practice as opposed to female infants.

The researchers, in a bid to understand the trend, investigated circumcision of male youngsters in 15 countries between 1999 and 2016.

The study also involved 40 US states – where the findings noted higher number of states recording significant number of cot deaths among infants.

Furthermore, the study points that babies who are born between 5 to 6 months – born prematurely – are three times likely to be affected by the condition as opposed to those born at 9 months.

Having analyzed the trend in male infant circumcision and the fact that the condition is rare, scientists are encouraging parents to wait till their babies reach the age of 7 years.

Researchers also added the need for parental awareness on the emerging fatality of SIDS.

Reducing the risk

According to NHS, parents can reduce the risk of SIDS by not smoking while pregnant or after the baby is born, and always placing the baby on their back when they sleep. Environmental stresses could include tobacco smoke, getting tangled in bedding, a minor illness or a breathing obstruction.

In Kenya, for instance, higher percentage of men go through the cutting regardless of the age. 84 percent of Kenyan men felt the knife, according to the country’s 2003 Demographic Health Survey.

In this particular study, the Somali community inhabiting North Eastern Kenya, recorded 100 percent male circumcision. Factors such as culture and religion hugely contribute to the practice.

A point to note in regard to male circumcision is the spread of HIV/AIDS.

A Kenyan based survey, 2007 Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey, revealed the increased prevalence of the virus among uncircumcised men which stood at 13.2 as compared to circumcised male at 3.9 percent.

As much as the practice is scientifically proven to be a healthy one, parents should be on the alert when circumcising male infants and should seek health advice in case of unusual behaviour of tots.

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