It is NOT mandatory. Whether you choose to take the baby to the doctor is up to you. Some women choose to, some don't. Here are the pros and cons of doing that.
If you observe the baby and see that the baby is crying, breathing well, is pink and looks normal to you, there is rarely any cause for concern. You can always take the baby in later if some problem occurs, but in most cases there is no problem.
Some people have to have a doctor look at the baby and verify the baby for insurance purposes. But even if I did that, I wouldn't go immediately after birth. I'd wait a while until I had regained some strength, and the baby had nursed and was doing fine. Sometimes when one has a home birth, the doctor feels they are high risk and wants to do every test in the book, even some that wouldn't be done on a hospital-born baby, just because they feel they must cover all the bases in case of a malpractice suit, and also, some just want to punish you for having a home birth and will throw every test in the book at you for that reason. You still have the right to refuse those tests. They may try to get you to do the PKU test, they may say it is mandatory by law, but you can still sign a waiver to refuse it, and if you decide you do want it, you can go back to the pediatrician at a later time. You must be firm and not let them talk you into things. You can say, "Is there any evidence from your examination that my baby has some kind of disorder?" If not, then you don't need tests. Make the doctor produce some kind of clinical proof that your baby has some kind of problem before you submit to tests. These tests are often very traumatizing to the baby. Sometimes they will try to tell you that you can't be present during these procedures, but this is not true. As the parent and legal guardian of this child, you have the right to be present during tests, examinations, and even surgery.
By the way, take the child to a family practice doctor, preferably, or general practitioner, and NOT to the hospital because the hospital will freak and treat you as an emergency. You are NOT an emergency, unless the child is having breathing difficulty. They might try to keep the baby in the hospital, even if nothing is wrong. Even a pediatrician is often very alarmist. Pick a doctor you can all see as a family, that you are comfortable with. Better yet, if there is a midwife in the area, just have the baby looked at by her.
A drawback of taking the baby in is, in some states, if you did not give birth in the hospital and refuse tests, etc. they will feel it necessary to send a public health nurse around to your house to look in on you and see that you are doing fine. They may also take this opportunity to observe your parenting skills and decide if you are a fit mother or not. After all, what mother in her right mind would stay home to give birth? They may not say it to you, but they will be questioning your parenting skills. Sometimes, they may even send a social worker around to observe the home environment and decide if you are fit or not.
If you DO see some problem that you think you need medical assistance for, taking the baby in will be proof that you ARE acting in the baby's best interest and not just some flaky person who decided not to see a doctor.
Now, these things only happen SOME of the time, and not in all states or all circumstances. I am just making you aware.
My own choice would be to avoid the doctor's office at all cost. Unless you see something that you think needs to be looked at, I think you risk more than you gain. But the decision is yours.
Back to The Online Childbirth Class