AAP Releases New Home Birth Guidelines: Here’s What You Need to Know

Photo: Veer / The Bump Photo: Veer / The Bump

The AAP has officially released a new policy statement, “Planned Home Birth” published in the May 2013 Pediatrics, which makes new recommendations for the care of infants born at home or in a home setting.

Here’s what the new guidelines state:

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding baby’s birth (including location), every newborn infant deserves health care that adheres to the AAP standards. The AAP also agrees with the most recent statements from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that the safest setting for a child’s birth is a hopsital or birthing center, but recognizes that women and their families may deserve a home birth for a number or reasons. That said, pediatricians should advise parents interested in planning a home birth that the AAP and the ACOG recommend using only midwives that are certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.

In addition to being certified, the AAP recommends that there should be at least one person present at the delivery of baby whose primary responsibility is the care of the newborn, with the appropriate training, skills and equipment. The AAP advises that all medical equipment and the telephones in the home should be tested before baby’s delivery and the weather should be monitored closely. Additionally, an arrangement with a nearby medical facility should be made to ensure a safe and timely transport in the event of an emergency for the mother or baby.

AAP guidelines include warming, a detailed physical exam, monitoring of temperature, heart and respiratory rates, eye prophylaxis, vitamin K administration, hepatitis B immunization, feeding assessment, hyperbilirubinemia screening and other newborn screening tests. If allowed, infants may also require monitoring for group B streptococcal disease and glucose screening.

Following baby’s birth,  comprehensive documentation and a follow-up with the child’s primary health care provider is essential.

How do you feel about these new guidelines?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Should I Give Birth at Home?

Midwife or a Doula? What’s the Difference?

Alternative Birth Methods