COVID-19 Pandemic Adversely Affects the Provision of Desired Newborn Circumcision: Perinatal Physician Perspectives

Lauren E. Corona, Ilina Rosoklija, Ryan F. Walton, Derek J. Matoka, Catherine M. Seager, Jane Louise Holl, Emilie Katherine Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Over half of boys in the United States undergo circumcision, which has its greatest health benefits and lowest risks when performed during the newborn period under local anesthesia. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected delivery of patient care in many ways and likely also influenced the provision of newborn circumcisions. Prior to the pandemic, we planned to conduct a qualitative study to ascertain physician perspectives on providing newborn circumcision care. The interviews incidentally coincided with the onset of the pandemic and thus, pandemic-related changes emerged as a theme. We elected to analyze this theme in greater detail. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with perinatal physicians in a large urban city from 4/2020 to 7/2020. Physicians that perform or counsel regarding newborn circumcision and physicians with knowledge of or responsibility for hospital policies were eligible. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and qualitative coding was performed. Twenty-three physicians from 11 local hospitals participated. Despite no specific COVID-19 related questions in the interview guide, nearly half of physicians identified that the pandemic affected delivery of newborn circumcision care with 8 pandemic-related sub-themes. The commonest sub-themes included COVID-19 related changes in: (1) workflow processes, (2) staffing and availability of circumcision proceduralists, and (3) procedural settings. In summary, this qualitative study revealed unanticipated COVID-19 pandemic-related changes with primarily adverse effects on the provision of desired newborn circumcisions. Some of these changes may become permanent resulting in broad implications for policy makers that will likely need to adapt and redesign the processes and systems for the delivery of newborn circumcision care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number799647
JournalFrontiers in Health Services
StatePublished - 2021


  • circumcision
  • clamp circumcision
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • neonate
  • newborn circumcision
  • pandemic
  • perinatal care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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