So, you are determined to have a homebirth for fear of getting COVID, but what about the baby?
Both the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) do not approve homebirths because of increased neonatal infection and death however AAP has listed some guidelines if you still want to proceed:
1. There should be TWO healthcare providers present at birth, not just the midwife. The second person should be present to exclusively take care of the baby and be well trained in performing a full resuscitation of the infant in accordance with the principles of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program. Emergency equipment should be tested to ensure that it is working as well as communication devices such as the telephone. The weather should also be monitored.
2. Although skin-to-skin contact with the mother is the most effective way to provide warmth, portable warming pads should be available in case a newborn infant requires resuscitation and cannot be placed on the mother’s chest.
3. Temperature, heart rate, skin color, peripheral circulation, respiration, level of consciousness, tone, and activity should be monitored and recorded at least once every 30 minutes until the infant’s condition has remained stable for 2 hours.
4. Know your Group B Strep (GBS) status PRIOR to having a homebirth. Positive GBS tests should be treated in order to avoid severe newborn infections.
5. Every newborn infant should receive eye medication to prevent gonorrhea in the eyes, as directed by local laws and regulations.
6. Every newborn infant should receive a single parenteral dose of vitamin K1 to prevent bleeding problems
7. Assessment of feeding: A trained caregiver should evaluate at least 1 session of breastfeeding, including observation of position, latch, and milk transfer.
Although the ultimate decision to have a homebirth rests with the expectant mother, following recommended guidelines will reduce the chance of unexpected harm to both you and your baby.
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