Early postnatal hospital discharge

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A definition that has been used for early discharge from hospital after childbirth is discharge of mother and baby within 48 hours of the birth.

The length of postpartum stay in hospital decreased gradually over several decades in the US, initially because of consumer desire for a reduction in medical intervention associated with childbirth, and later in an effort to reduce costs.[1] A similar gradual shortening of postpartum hospital stays occurred in Canada.[2] Early discharge has also occurred in the UK[3] and Australia.[4]

There has been controversy over the practice[5] [6] [7] and the relationship with followup care, cost and maternal and newborn health may be complex.[8][9][10] A 1995 review found that available studies were insufficient to shed much light on the consequences.[11] A study concluded that early discharge is safe if it is part of a program involving postnatal care outside the hospital.[7]


  1. ^ (Commentary), A. P. (February 2001). "Early Postpartum Discharge: Recommendations From a Preliminary Report to Congress". Pediatrics 107 (2): 400–403. doi:10.1542/peds.107.2.400. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  2. ^ Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (April 2007). "Postpartum maternal and newborn discharge". SOGC policy statement (190). Retrieved 2009-07-04. The length of stay in hospital postpartum has been steadily decreasing over the last 50 years. 
  3. ^ Oddie, S.J.; D Hammal, S Richmond and L Parker (2005). "Early discharge and readmission to hospital in the first month of life in the Northern Region of the UK during 1998: a case cohort study". Archives of Disease in Childhood 90 (2): 119–124. doi:10.1136/adc.2003.040766. PMC 1720274. PMID 15665161. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  4. ^ Hickey, Anthea R.; Philip M Boyce, David Ellwood and Allen D Morris-Yates (1997). "Early discharge and risk for postnatal depression". Medical Journal of Australia 167: 244–247. 
  5. ^ Britton, John R.; Helen L. Britton MD; Susan A. Beebe MD (1994). "Early discharge of the term newborn: A continued dilemma". Pediatrics 94 (3): 291–295. PMID 8065852. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  6. ^ Parisi, V. M.; Meyer, BA (December 1995). "To Stay or Not to Stay? That is the Question". New England Journal of Medicine 333 (24): 1635–1637. doi:10.1056/NEJM199512143332412. PMID 7477203. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  7. ^ a b Dershewitz, Robert; Marshall, Richard (October 1995). "Controversies of early discharge of infants from the well-newborn nursery". Current Opinion in Pediatrics 7 (5). Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  8. ^ Marbella, Anne M.; Veerappa K. Chetty; Peter M. Layde (1988). "Neonatal Hospital Lengths of Stay, Readmissions, and Charges". Pediatrics 101 (1): 32–36. doi:10.1542/peds.101.1.32. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  9. ^ Maisels, Jeffrey; Elizabeth Kring (1997). "Early Discharge From the Newborn Nursery---Effect on Scheduling of Follow-up Visits by Pediatricians". Pediatrics 100 (1): 72–74. doi:10.1542/peds.100.1.72. PMID 9200362. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  10. ^ Grupp-Phelan, Jacqueline; James A. Taylor; Lenna L. Liu; Robert L. Davis (1999). "Early Newborn Hospital Discharge and Readmission for Mild and Severe Jaundice". Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 153 (12): 1283–1288. doi:10.1001/archpedi.153.12.1283. PMID 10591307. Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  11. ^ Braveman, Paula; Susan Egerter; Michelle Pearl; Kristen Marchi; Carol Miller (1995). "Early Discharge of Newborns and Mothers: A Critical Review of the Literature". Pediatrics 96 (4): 716–726. PMID 7567337. Retrieved 2009-07-04.