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How early is too early?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I had a dream last night that the baby was born early. I don't know when it was born just early. Since I already think this will happen it got me wondering, how early is too early for a safe homebirth. I know if I were to go into labour today at 34 weeks I should go to the doctor and see what can/should/would be done and what not but I don't care about today. When is the soonest a woman can have a baby safely at home without needing to go the doctor? TIA!
post #2 of 8
I think it's 37 weeks to be considered full term.
post #3 of 8
Most midwives will deliver at home at 36 weeks and consider that the "safe period". I've heard people say they'd deliver at home anywhere after 34 weeks, though.
post #4 of 8
I think that really depends on the situation, it is hard to judge, my last baby was born at 35 weeks (in the hosp) didn't require any extra help and we went home the next morning. my second baby was born at 33 weeks and he required a ventilator to breathe for about 36 hours, although once off the ventilator he was able to nurse.
where as Wende's baby born at about 33 weeks (sorry if I am a little off) was much smaller than my son but she was able to breathe independently.
My point is at that stage (33-35 weeks) a couple of days can make a big difference in the babies coping ability.
The other thing to consider is these little babies that are just short of term require you to monitor their intake (they are often too sleepy to wake up) and frequently get jaundice, are more at risk for things such as reflux and crossed eyes.
In bc the midwives will attend a homebirth after 37 weeks, I think I may have convinced them to consider a homebirth for me any time after 36 completed weeks. but I would feel pretty confident birthing a healthy baby after 35 weeks

But what if the timing is off and what you think is a 36 weeks baby is really 34, it happens.

Just hope it cooks for at least another 2 weeks and you are good.
post #5 of 8
My midwife delivers at home as early as 36 weeks, though she has delivered one at 35, with the woman fully knowing the risks and agreeing to transfer the baby if needed asap...she just didn't want to deliver at the hospital...the midwife said she was fine and so was the baby, no intervention or hospitals needed...

I don't believe I would go much under 35 weeks but most women are fine at 35 though 36-on is optimum...for what it's worth!
post #6 of 8
My first was born at 34 weeks and spent 2 weeks in the NICU. She was 4lbs 8oz. I think it depends on weight too. DD's lungs were slightly behind as I had been losing amniotic fluid for at least a week.
post #7 of 8
Yeah, it really does differ between babies. My 4th was born at 31 weeks, 5 days and was 4lbs, 8oz and breathing on his own, no ventilator needed. Aine was born at somewhere between 32 and 34 weeks, since she was so small we don't know for sure. She was 3lbs, 12oz. Still no ventilator needed, but she is much smaller than Kaiden was who was younger gestationally. 36 weeks is considered safe, but I'd hope for no less than 38.
post #8 of 8
From what the docs told me and what I have seen, there's a big difference between 34 and 35 week babies. My dd was born at exactly 34 weeks and needed a 10-day NICU stay -- she could breathe fine but needed to get her suck-swallow-breathe coordinated for eating (had an NG tube for 4 days) and had a couple of episodes where her heart stopped and she need a thump to get going again. She was not jaundiced but that is a common problem. Her red blood count was also low and they thought she might need a transfusion shortly after birth.

In contrast, my SIL and and woman I met at the hospital when I had dd, both had 35 week plus a few days babies and both went home after 2 days.

IMO, if your labor starts before 36 weeks, go to the hospital. Between 36 and 37, I would say is a gray area.

I'm just glad I've now hit 34 weeks (today!) so this baby has now cooked longer than its sister did. Whew!
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