Hospital Discharge Following Pregnancy Should Be Individualized

Pregnancy News

Obie Editorial Team

Many women are discharged from the hospital after birth based on insurance or hospital protocol. As long as mom and baby are healthy and ready physically to return home, the discharge is ordered. However, researchers from the Department of Pediatrics at Cohens Children's Medical Center NY believe discharge practices should be individualized, especially in cases where new mothers are not ready to leave the hospital - termed unreadiness for the study.

A total of 4,300 new mothers and infants were included in the study. The authors claimed 16% of the mother/infant pairs were not ready for discharge when orders were written. The mothers deemed unready were more likely to call their physician within the first four weeks after discharge. Affected women reported symptoms for self and infant more often and scored lower on physical and mental health status testing than ready mothers.

Conclusion: Women who are clearly not ready for discharge may benefit from additional time spent in the hospital. Individual care and discharge instructions may improve overall physical and mental health for both mother and infant.

Source: Bernstein HH, Spino C, Lalama CM, Finch SA, Wasserman RC, McCormick MC. Unreadiness for Postpartum Discharge Following Healthy Term Pregnancy: Impact on Health Care Use and Outcomes. Acad Pediatr. 2012 Oct 22. pii: S1876-2859(12)00204-5. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2012.08.005.