Parents want answers, not advice, on circumcision

July 31, 2014

Most parents want healthcare providers to answer their questions about circumcision, but they don’t want them to recommend whether or not to have the procedure performed, a University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health shows.

 

Most parents want healthcare providers to answer their questions about circumcision, but they don’t want them to recommend whether or not to have the procedure performed, a University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health shows.

Of 1516 parents expecting or planning to have a child in the next 2 years, 90% said healthcare providers definitely should answer parents’ questions about circumcision. However 42% said the provider shouldn’t recommend a particular decision about the procedure, and 75% said that providers should accept the parents’ decision without argument. Only 23% said the provider definitely should make a recommendation.

Most parents want information about circumcision before the baby’s birth (87%) and would prefer to get it from the baby’s healthcare provider (81%). Eleven percent would opt for information at the hospital after the birth and 2% at the child’s first checkup. The mother’s obstetrician, midwife, or childbirth educator was the preferred information source for 19% of parents.

Healthcare providers were considered a very trustworthy source of information by 78% of parents, compared with 64% for the American Academy of Pediatrics; 47% for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 14% for parenting books; and 5% for the Internet.

The findings of the poll point to disparities between parental preferences about circumcision counseling and prevailing healthcare patterns, the report notes. For one thing, although most parents say they want information from their baby’s healthcare provider before the child is born, many don’t meet with the pediatrician or family doctor for a prenatal visit. For another, the fact that most parents don’t want a recommendation on what decision to make or an opinion about their ultimate choice suggests that providers may need to take a different tack, answering questions and offering objective information without giving expert advice on what action to take. 


 

 

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