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AAP finally comes out in support of home births following surge of interest among pregnant women

Saturday, May 04, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: AAP, home births, midwives

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(NaturalNews) So many more women these days are opting to give birth at home rather than at the hospital that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has finally decided to give an official nod of approval for the practice, according to a recent announcement. Though seemingly shrouded in overtones of skepticism, the AAP public release admits that home births can be safely and effectively performed, and recommends that at least one other person, preferably a midwife, be present during delivery to attend directly to the child's needs.

Published in the group's own journal Pediatrics, the announcement advises women who opt for home birth to make sure that a person with the appropriate training, skills and equipment to perform a resuscitation of the baby be present at all times. The group also recommends that a midwife certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) be present. Appropriate medical equipment, a working telephone, and constant monitoring of outside weather conditions is also advised, should there be a need to seek outside help or move the baby and mother to another location.

"AAP guidelines include warming (of the baby), a detailed physical exam, monitoring of temperature, heart and respiratory rates, eye prophylaxis, vitamin K administration ... feeding assessment, hyperbilirubinemia screening and other newborn screening tests," states the announcement, excluding a recommendation for the dangerous and highly-unnecessary hepatitis B vaccine. "If warranted, infants may also require monitoring for group B streptococcal disease and glucose screening. Comprehensive documentation and follow-up with the child's primary health care provider is essential," it adds.

Home births have increased by 30 percent since 2004

For an increasing number of women, having a home birth is a no-brainer, given the steady increase in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" at hospitals. For others, the sheer cost of a hospital birth is a major detractor, especially among women without health insurance coverage. But one thing is for sure -- home births are on the rise, having grown in popularity by 30 percent since 2004, according to the latest government data.

"No matter where a baby is born, they deserve the same standard of care," says Dr. Kristi Watterberg, a neonatologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Dr. Watterberg is also the lead author of the new AAP guidelines for home births. "Babies deserve the best care they can get ... and we need to support women wherever they choose to give birth."

One major caveat to all this, however, is that the AAP is also recommending that pediatricians give expecting parents a rundown on all the alleged risks associated with the home birth process. Though existing data on home births is duplicitous, and many experts in the field of home births insist that they are just as safe or safer than hospital births, the AAP apparently hopes women will think twice before agreeing to a home birth.

"Pediatricians should warn expecting parents that between 10 to 40 percent of women may need to transfer to a hospital before delivery due to unanticipated complications," says a CBS News report on the announcement. "That should not be seen as a failure of home birth, the academy said, but rather as a success of the medical care system."

Sources for this article include:

http://www.aap.org

http://www.cbsnews.com

http://healthland.time.com

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