Length of Hospital Stay Depending on Type of Birth
Routine vaginal birth
For a routine, uncomplicated vaginal birth, the average hospital stay is between 24 and 48 hours. People who give birth without anesthesia often feel ready to go home sooner, but are encouraged to stay for monitoring of any issues that could arise for parent or baby.
If you wish to discharge before the recommended time, talk to your care providers before or after your birth. Ultimately, it’s your decision though it may be considered “AMA” – against medical advice. If you discharge prior to the recommended time, your provider may request that you and your baby see your doctors earlier than the typical waiting period after birth.
Many hospitals offer private rooms in which your partner or support person can stay with you until discharge, including overnight. Many hospitals have a chair or couch that converts to a bed. Ask about this during your hospital tour before arriving in labor so you can plan ahead. Most hospitals will not allow children to stay with you overnight.
Vaginal birth with complications
If you, as the birthing parent, experience complications with your vaginal birth, your stay may be extended. Depending on the severity of the complications and treatments required, your stay could be between 48 hours up to a week or longer, and could require transfer to a different unit.
If your baby is experiencing complications but you are not, you will be discharged within the typical amount of time while your baby remains in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Leaving without your baby can be distressing — talk to your care provider and the hospital to receive the appropriate kinds of support.
Uncomplicated c-section birth
With an uncomplicated (nothing out of the ordinary) cesarean surgery, you can expect to stay between 2 days (on the low end) and 4 days on the high end, with 3 days being the average. Though you may not feel ready to leave, care providers usually give you the go-ahead after a few basic post-op goals are met: getting up and walking a short distance on your own, like to the bathroom; urinating on your own without a catheter; passing gas; eating and drinking without complications; normal blood pressure; no signs of infection; and appropriate pain control.
C-section birth with complications
As with a complicated vaginal birth, the length of stay for complications from a cesarean birth could mean staying beyond 3 to 4 days, up to a week or longer, depending on severity and healing progress.