Is it safer to plan a home birth during COVID-19?!...

During the COVID-19 pandemic, would it be safer to plan a home birth rather than deliver my baby at a hospital?

Kristi L. Watterberg, MD, FAAP

Answer

No. Based on current evidence, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes hospitals and accredited birth centers are still the safest places for babies to be born in the United States.

It’s easy to understand why parents-to-be may be worried about going to the hospital right now to have a baby. Many hospitals across the country are crowded with COVID-19 patients. We also know that some parents may be interested in planned home births for cultural or religious reasons or hopes for a more family-friendly setting.

​However, research shows planned home births in the United States are associ​ated with an increased risk of newborn death (roughly 1-2 deaths for every 1,000 births). Babies born at home also may have a higher risk from medical complications and tend to have lower Apgar scores.​

While the AAP does not recommend planned home births, it recognizes some women will choose this option. It’s newly updated policy statement, “Providing Care for Infants Born at Home​,” policy offers guidance to help support parents and help protect infants born at home.

AAP guidance on planned home births

If you’re considering a home birth, here are some AAP recommendations to keep in mind:

  • Know your risk. Women with low-risk pregnancies are more likely to have a successful home birth. Talk with your doctor about medical problems that can raise the risk of complications.
  • Have skilled providers with you. If you decide to have your baby at home, make sure you have two certified providers there with you. They should have the training, skills and equipment to perform a full resuscitation if they baby needs help starting to breath. Ideally, they should be a doctor or certified midwife who practices within a regulated health system.
  • Be ready to go to the hospital if needed. Complications can happen even to women with low-risk pregnancies.
​Remember, if you end up having to go to the hospital for the birth of your child, this is not a failure of the home birth. Ins​​​tead, it’s altering your plans and choosing a healthy outcome for you and your baby.​
  • Consider how far away you are from the nearest hospital. Planned home births more than 15 or 20 minutes away from a hospital have a higher risk for complications, including newborn death.
  • Keep an eye on the weather and any other problems that could prevent you from getting to the hospital quickly if problems come up. For example, if your local EMS is already overloaded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure phones are working and cell coverage is good.

Beyond delivery

Just like in the hospital, your baby will need to be closely monitored. This includes the baby’s temperature, heart rate, skin color, circulation, breathing, alertness, tone, and activity. These vitals should be recorded at least once every 30 minutes until your baby stays stable for 2 hours.

There are several other tests and screenings your baby needs within the first couple days after birth. Be sure to make an appointment to see your pediatrician within 24 hours after your baby is born and again within 48 hours of that first visit.

Remember

It might seem like a scary time to give birth in a hospital, but remember that maternity wards take every precaution to stay sanitary. In addition, hospitals are working to follow the latest infection control guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are interested in a home birth, talk to your doctor about what you need to do to make the experience as safe as possible for you and your baby.

More Information

COVID-19 Updates...

VAN DORN PEDIATRICS is closely monitoring the quickly evolving situation of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We are following the CDC’s guidelines and updates to protect your family and our staff.

We have taken a number of steps to keep our office a healthy and risk-free place:

  • We are using completely separate rooms for well and sick visits.
  • All patients with  fever or respiratory symptoms are asked to have a video visit with one of our doctors and either a prescription is sent to the pharmacy or they are referred to the emergency room for further studies.
  • All visits must be scheduled and screened by phone ahead of time; we are currently not accepting walk-ins.
  • Parents should limit the number of people accompanying the child to one parent or guardian.
  • All toys have been removed.
  • Every room is disinfected and ventilated after every visit.
  • We offer Telemedicine where we can schedule a video visit with your doctor while you are in the comfort of your home (please see details below for steps and types of visits )
  • We also offer many other on-line services through this web site and the patient portal:
    • Fill-out registration forms as well as other forms on-line before coming to the office
    • Access/ print  your child’s medical record
    • Get doses for fever medicines as well as vaccine schedule
    • Access vaccine information sheets
    • Pay balance on line
  • Screening for Coronavirus risk will be done only over the phone.

If your child has flu-like symptoms including cough, fever, shortness of breath AND,

1- Has been in contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infected or suspected case within the last 14 days,

or

2-Traveled to a CDC defined sustained community spread area within the last 14 days (click here for an updated list from the CDC)

Please Call us — we will determine if we should recommend supportive care at home or if your child should proceed to the emergency room.

Presently we are not capable of testing for the Coronavirus in the office.

Please click here for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics

 

 

Telemedicine-Scheduling A Video Visit...

We are excited to announce that Van Dorn Pediatrics is now offering Televisits on a larger scale. Televisits allow our doctors to conduct certain appointments via video as an alternative to office visits. Call us to schedule your Televisit. Copay/ deductible is due at the time of scheduling to minimize wait time for your visit.

Televisits could be done using the Healow app on your phone or on the Patient Portal from your PC. If you choose to use your phone; kindly download the Healow app from the app store and create an account for your child.

Once signed in click on appointments, then Televist, and enter you child’s vitals then click submit and start your Televist with your doctor.

Below are video tutorials for how to conduct a televisit using the patient portal on your computer or the Healow app on your phone. 

Please log into your account at least 15 mins prior to your appointment time. Please note that Televisits cannot be replaced by a phone call.

Here are some examples of conditions that could be managed through Televisits:

1. ADHD

2. Asthma follow up if less than 6 years of age

3.Eczema

4. Pink eye

5.Cold symptoms without ear pain 

6.Diarrhea/ vomiting

7. Follow up concussion

8. Allergies

9.Constipation

10. Feeding problems

12.Speech concerns

13. Sleep concerns

14.Acne

15. Hair loss/ Dandruff/ Lice

16. ringworm

17. Rashes

18. School problems

19. Autism

20. Behavioral concerns

21. Fever

Telemedicine visits could be scheduled throughout the day from 8:00 AM-10:00 PM daily, 7 days a week!