If a woman gives birth in a hospital, the length of her stay depends on several factors. It is based on the woman’s choice, how she and the baby are doing, what her insurance company will pay for, and what the hospital’s policy is.
Following a normal delivery and recovery period, most women who delivered vaginally stay in the hospital for one or two days. Those who underwent cesarean sections may need to stay longer — usually about four days. Click here to see illustrations of a vaginal birth. Click here to see illustrations of a cesarean birth.
While recovering in the hospital, you will have nurses coming in periodically to check your vital signs and to make sure your uterus is tightened to stop any bleeding. Your baby may be allowed to stay in your room after birth. The nurses will still take most of the responsibility for your baby for the first few hours while you get your much-needed rest. Some hospitals do not allow your baby to stay in the same room with you, though the practice of rooming-in is occurring more frequently. Check with your hospital to see what their policies are about rooming in and overnight rooming in.
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Most hospitals designate the first two hours after delivery as a crucial monitoring time for the mother. Based on what they observe, some hospitals will let you go home as soon as six to 24 hours after your delivery, depending on the circumstances of your childbirth. If you had no complications during your labor and the monitoring period, or used any drugs other than local anesthetic, you may be able to leave within a day.
Also, if you want to be discharged early, having taken childbirth education and infant-care classes may help your chances. The childbirth education may lessen your need for pain medications and your chances of having some complications during delivery. The infant-care classes may reassure your practitioner that you are able to immediately care for your child.
Your hospital may have postpartum nurses who can come to your home a few times and help you with any questions and concerns. If you choose to be discharged early, it is a good idea to set up some kind of communication system with the medical community beforehand in case you need assistance.
Many women who choose to be released early do so to save money. It costs a lot to spend a day in the hospital, less to go home and have a nurse make visits. If the hospital does not allow the baby to stay in the mother’s room, she may wish to have more bonding time with her child at home. Once out of the hospital, the father and other family members will have a better opportunity to be close to the newborn as well.