The American Academy of Pediatrics released a set of guidelines Monday for the care of infants born at home. The guidelines were published in the AAP’s journal, Pediatrics.
“We felt that it needed to be stated that no matter where a baby was born, the care needs to adhere to the same standards,” said the guideline’s lead author Dr. Kristi Watterberg, a professor of pediatrics and a neonatologist at the University of New Mexico. “One thing we feel very strongly about is that there needs to be one person present at the birth whose primary responsibility is care of the baby. While it’s uncommon for both the mom and the baby to get into trouble, it does happen.”
The guidelines detail the care and monitoring an infant should receive in the first hours and days after delivery. For example, babies born larger or smaller than expected should be tested for high blood sugar; caregivers should make sure breastfeeding is going without a hitch; blood should be drawn and screened for genetic abnormalities like cystic fibrosis.
The fact that the AAP has issued guidelines doesn’t mean the group supports home births, Watterberg said. “We concur with ACOG that hospitals and birthing centers appear to be the safest settings for birth in the U.S., but respect the right of women to make their own decisions about delivery,” she added.