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AAP Issues Guidelines for Care of Infants Born at Home

MONDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Every newborn infant, including those born at home, is entitled to appropriate care, according to a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and published online April 29 in Pediatrics.

Kristi L. Watterberg, M.D., and colleagues from the AAP Committee on Fetus and Newborn, summarized the requirements for assessment, resuscitation, and care of newborn infants born at home, in an effort to help pediatricians provide support for women considering home birth.

According to the authors, there should be at least one person present at every delivery who is responsible for caring for the newborn infant, with the training and skills to perform resuscitation. An additional person should be present to attend to the mother, if necessary. The weather should be monitored and operational integrity of the telephones, other communication systems, and pieces of medical equipment should be checked before delivery. In case of emergency, there should be an arrangement in place with a medical facility. Care of the newborn should adhere to standards of practice and should include transitional care (first four to eight hours); monitoring for group B streptococcal disease; glucose screening; eye prophylaxis; vitamin K administration; hepatitis B vaccination; assessment of breastfeeding; and hyperbilirubinemia, universal newborn, and hearing screenings. In addition, follow-up screening care should be provided within 24 to 48 hours of birth.

"The AAP concurs with the recent position statement of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, affirming that hospitals and birthing centers are the safest settings for birth in the United States, while respecting the right of women to make a medically informed decision about delivery," the authors write.

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