How long do I need to stay after birth? The typical hospital stay for an uncomplicated vaginal birth is 24-48 hours. But you DON’T have to stay that long if you’d prefer to leave early. Listen in to learn exactly what you need to know if you are planning for an early hospital discharge.
Did you know that in birth center births (like real birth centers) you go home after just a few hours? And we all love home birth for the fact that you don’t even have to go anywhere, you’re already in your bed immediately postpartum.
So how can we get more of that in the hospital birth?
If you want a home birth style hospital birth, I’m your gal. I totally understand not being able to have the home birth you want, whether that is for financial reasons, lack of homebirth availability in your area, or you have risked out of homebirth. You can still have a no intervention, powerful, and positive birth experience. But it won’t just happen by chance. There is a lot of educating, planning and mindset work that goes along with it. If you are ready to start planning for this type of birth, let’s get you into Unmedicated Academy. Cannot wait to see you inside the moms group!
I actually googled this to see what the typical answer on how long moms stay after birth. Here’s what google said…
After an uncomplicated vaginal birth, you’ll likely stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours. There’s a lot that happens in those two days after delivery before you go home, including: You’ll need to rest and wait for any anesthesia to wear off.
Here is what I say…
You absolutely DO NOT have to stay the full 24-48 hours. If you want to stay, by all means go ahead and stay as long as they’ll let you. Most of us prefer the comfort of our own homes, AND the peace that comes with not being interrupted constantly and no one telling us vitamin K is just a vitamin. So barring any complications that you may want further observation on, let’s get you home ASAP.
And they’ll say no in a few different ways, here’s what they’ll say…
“You need to be observed just in case.”
Hospitals want you to stay 24-48 hours usually to observe and make sure they didn’t screw anything up. Which if you got the no intervention birth you planned, is less of a concern. This is more concern in a higher intervention birth as there can be complications or delayed adverse reactions that come up a while after birth. They will mention this to you if you ask to leave early.
They also want to max out your bill. Low risk moms do not need to stay for 48 hours after birth, but some hospitals have that as a standard routine so that they can bill your insurance for the full 2 days. Of course every hospital is different, in my experience I have seen 24 hour stays only.
“We are just waiting on the pediatrician to clear you.”
Or it could be the OB or some other routine procedure like the hearing test, newborn screening, lactation visits, pediatrician check, and discharge papers before you go. And usually you are waiting on all these things that can prolong your stay. If you want to leave, you can decline all those things. That is kind of the point. Moms who want to leave early are typically not wanting those things. What do home birth and birth center moms do? Usually the home birth midwives will visit moms again 24 hours after birth. And all those other things wait until mom is ready to schedule it with a pediatrician. I have also heard of peds making house calls knowing that moms who give birth outside the hospital don’t want to be driving all around after birth.
“We only discharge at 10am.”
They may make it seem impossible for you to leave because they need to do discharge paperwork. And they have a routine for that. Part of the routine is all those things I mentioned that rely on a different person to perform, which can only happen during daytime hours usually. Meaning if your baby was born at 1am, they won’t be discharging you at 1am.
Let’s say you are a seasoned, empowered mom and all those reasons did not work on you, and you demand to go home. It may have to sound like, “I am leaving and you can’t stop me.”
Then the hospital will pull out the big guns. And those two things are:
“Your insurance won’t cover your bill if you leave AMA (against medical advice) and we’re calling CPS. You cannot leave this hospital until we know that baby is healthy.“
Huge eyeroll. I never met an empowered mom who would put her baby in harms way for funsies.
Here’s what you need to know about those two examples. Know that they will come up. Go ahead and do some research so you can feel confident telling the hospital to shut the heck up. Part of planning for an early hospital discharge is calling your insurance and checking your state’s CPS laws.
AMA discharges do not void the terms of your insurance. (Even google agrees with me this time!) This is a HUGE misconception that I see in moms groups all the time and I am sure many doctors actually believe that insurance won’t cover AMA. They will cover your bill still if you leave AMA because you have autonomy and it is actually against the hospital’s bill of rights to force you to do something, which is why the AMA form exists. The AMA is just for the hospital’s liability, because that is honestly what they care about more than you actually leaving or your baby’s well being.
And while the hospital may call CPS, you leaving the hospital with your healthy child is not child neglect by any definition and CPS would agree with that. Of course, no one wants to actually be a part of a CPS investigation. Who knows if the hospital was even going to call CPS anyways, they are used to parents agreeing to everything at that point. I would like to note that if you are a woman of color, or a young mom, they are more likely to use the threat of CPS, but your rights still stand.
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