Another instance in which hospital policy may not match the evidence is with regard to suctioning the baby’s nose and mouth immediately after birth. Some doctors may suction all babies routinely. Others have a policy to only suction if meconium (baby’s first bowel movement) is present.
However, the newest protocols from the American Academy of Pediatrics say not to suction while the baby is on the perineum at all–whether or not meconium is present. A fellow independent childbirth educator, Jeanne Anderson, was certified in neonatal resuscitation by the American Academy of Pediatrics this year and shared the following information about the AAP’s 2007 guidelines:
“Their latest research indicates that the baby will spit up the meconium on its own, and if it is one that will develop respiratory problems, they will happen regardless of perineal suctioning. The newest protocols are to birth the baby and only wipe any visible mucous from the mouth/nose with a towel as you are handing the baby to the mom and
visually evaluating him/her. If the baby needs more resuscitation it will show up as poor respiratory effort, lowered heart rate or poor color, which can then be addressed. Normal infants will only need help less than 10% of the time.”