I hate the thought of being in hospital for long and know that I will just want to go home – how soon can I come home with my baby?
There is flexibility of postnatal stay in most maternity units. Discuss this with your Midwife. Usually the minimum length of stay is about 6 hours. Many mothers just stay overnight to rest and gain some confidence. In 1997-98, the mean duration of post-natal stay in England was 2.2 days, compared with 3.2 days in 1989-90 and 5.5 days in 1981 1. Some units have the option to move to a GP unit or birthing centre. Local availability varies. However there are some things that will influence the length of your stay.
The type of delivery you have affects this. A vaginal delivery should not slow your discharge at all but a Caesarean Section may mean you need to stay in for about 3 days. If your baby is well this should not hold you back but if the baby is born early, or is unwell, struggling to feed or maintain its temperature then you may be advised to remain in hospital until your baby is ready. If a baby is premature a mother may have to leave her baby on Special Care and visit regularly.
Organise as much help and support as you feel you need for when you go home. Family, friends and partners can be a great help to you, allowing you time with the baby.
1 Office for National Statistics (ONS) Mean duration of postnatal stay: Social Trends 32