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Home Birth Alternative

Having a safe and satisfying home birth experience will depend a great deal on the expectant mother choosing a well-rounded and experienced certified nurse-midwife or attending physician. When you're choosing a home-birth midwife, ask about her education, her credentials, and her experience with home births, as well as how she handles complications. Ask what equipment she will bring to your home. You will want to discuss what type of care you can expect for your baby right after the birth. Make sure that the nurse-midwife you choose will take care of postpartum procedures such as tetracycline or erythromycin ointment for your baby's eyes and suctioning of mucus. Most experts agree that you should choose a nurse-midwife who has delivered at least 50 to 100 babies and is well schooled in resuscitative techniques. Experts also recommend that you establish a relationship with a pediatrician in advance and take your newborn in for a visit as soon as possible after the birth. If you are considering a home birth, talk to other parents who have given birth at home and find out what they liked and did not like about their care giver but don't wait until a month before your due date to start your homework.

Another detail you'll want to take care of well in advance of the birth of your baby is help at home. If you're considering a home birth, be sure to line up some help for after the baby comes. With a home birth, you won't have all those extra hands provided by the hospital nursery. Talk with family and friends and schedule them in advance to come and stay for a few days. Another option would be to hire a postpartum doula. These professional baby/postpartum mother nurses can be pricey but well worth the investment if you don't have an abundance of family and friends close by and especially if you have other children to care for in addition to your new arrival.

For more information on the how to prepare for a home birth, you can contact The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) in Washington, D.C. at (888) M-I-D-W-I-F-E. They can direct you to home-birth resources, including a list of certified nurse-midwives, in your area. You can also visit the ACNM website at www.midwife.org. Another resource is the Midwives Alliance of North America. They can be contacted at 316-283-4543 or visit their website at www.mana.org. You can also contact The Association for Childbirth at Home International at 213-663-4996. They act as a clearinghouse for home-birth information, resources and support for expectant parents exploring the home birth option.

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