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Share via Email This article is over 2 years old A maternity ward in Winchester. Academics have warned that short stays mean there could be insufficient time for proper checks on mothers and newborns.
Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi for the Guardian British mothers are sent home from hospital after childbirth more quickly than in any other developed country, research suggests. They are spending an average of just a day and a half in maternity units after having their babies — the shortest stay for any high-income country assessed, according to the data published in PLOS Medicine.
Women in Bangladesh, Ghana and Liberia have longer stays. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine compiled data from 92 different countries about the length of time women stayed in health facilities after childbirth. They concluded that a substantial proportion of women in countries around the world do not stay in health facilities for long enough after giving birth, which could result in them receiving inadequate postnatal care.
The country with the longest length of stay was Ukraine, where new mothers spend 6. But those in Egypt spend an average of just half a day in a maternity unit after childbirth. The academics warned that short stays mean there could be insufficient time for medics to carry out proper checks on mothers and their newborns.
However, provided the woman is medically fine, has the support she needs at home and the right postnatal care plan in place, and a good community midwife service, then going home even five or six hours after birth may be absolutely fine.
I would also stress that many safety issues could be missed if a midwife does not see the woman at home. Our own research in showed that too many women are going home when they are not ready and this needs addressing.
The length of time and the care of the woman should be based on her needs, not on resources or availability of beds. It is crucial we make sure not only that childbirth facilities have skilled care attendants and effective monitoring and treatment, but also that women stay in hospital long enough so that they and their newborn babies can benefit from these.It’s a level of personal attention that ensures you receive the highest quality, most efficient care throughout your hospital stay.
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