In my experience, women are often at least given the option to stay two full days following the normal V-birth of a baby.
The first time I gave birth a few years ago, I stayed both of these days, no hesitation, no doubts.
The second time I gave birth, I stayed the first day only. Then, I was given the choice by my doctor to head home a day early – and I took it excitedly.
Which decision you make (and whether or not you even really have that decision, in all practicality) will likely be largely based on your health, the health of your baby, and the professional opinion of your own obstetrician.
While moms giving birth for the second or subsequent times may be totally ready to head back to the comfort of their own homes (and to their older children!), new parents may really benefit from the feeling of security that being in the hospital provides them.
When it’s time to leave, it can be like, “Are they really about the let me just leave here with this precious tiny baby???” That extra day of having experienced nurses and some extra help around can be a great time for parents to actually learn the basics as well as feel more at ease about going out into the world with a newborn.
There’s plenty to consider, and you probably won’t know for sure what to do until the time comes, so to better prepare, check out these 15 reasons to stay in the hospital the day after giving birth.
15 They Bring Food!
You go through labor (often eating nothing or very few calories during the process, which can last a full day or more for some women).
You give birth – and that is probably some of the hardest physical (and perhaps also mental) work you’ve ever done before in your life.
You start to breastfeed – another calorically demanding activity, which then continues in a constant cycle with perhaps an hour or two at the most between each feeding.
You are RAVENOUS. (That means really, really, hungry.)
And when you are in the hospital, people bring you food.
You can call in and place your order for every meal of the day.
I particularly enjoyed sipping thick chocolate milkshakes throughout my entire stay – and nomming some deli turkey sandwiches at last after 10 months without any.
14 Pee-Peeing In The Potty
I’ll just come right out and say it: Especially for the first few times after giving birth, it can be hard to get up and go to the bathroom yourself.
From there, it might be hard to actually go. And then you have to clean yourself up, and get back out of there again, and get back to bed, and usually then attend to the baby and pick it up and care for it.
Having nurses right there to assist you with all of this can be quite crucial.
Some women struggle to… have a bowel movement following birth. Stool softeners are often given to help with this process.
Perineal tears are also very common, so it can help to have someone running some water for you to help you get going, filling a perineal squirt bottle for you to use to rinse your parts after you go, and so on and so forth.
13 Beginning To Breastfeed Isn’t Simple
Yep, it’s natural, and women have been doing it, well, forever, but so, so many moms need some help and support (sometimes a LOT of help and support) to get started with breastfeeding.
Instead of heading right home and then being worried that you’re not doing something right or not being able to figure out how to succeed at breastfeeding, why not stay somewhere that nurses and specialized breastfeeding pros will come around and try their best to help you?
Labor and delivery nurses have seen newborn babies and their moms learn how to breastfeed many times – my nurse in the delivery room suggested a slight change of hold that made it possible to get my newborn to latch on and eat happily for a long time right then and there.
Plus, lactation consultants, who are pros in the subject, can be called in (or sometimes just make the rounds) to make sure latching, feeding, mom, and baby are all well.
12 For The Sake Of The Baby
Even if mom feels like she could hop out of bed and waltz out that big automatic door right after giving birth (and more likely, she will feel very tired, very hungry, and very sore), her baby will very likely benefit from an additional day or so of monitoring.
Nurses will help you to chart the feedings, pees, and poops of your brand-new little son or daughter, giving them an idea about whether or not the baby is receiving adequate nutrition and hydration.
A pediatrician will perform the baby’s first thorough physical exam.
The newborn’s vitals will be taken at various points throughout his or her hospital stay (temperature, pulse, listening to the lungs, etc.).
If anything isn’t quite right, the hospital is a great place to be – and even if all is well, it’s good to have this reassurance.
11 The Best Place For The Postpartum Mess
Brace yourself, folks, because I’m about to get a little honest and a lot graphic with this. (I think that if you’re at the point where you are about to soon give birth yourself, you should really be ready to learn about stuff like this!)
After you give birth, a quite heavy postpartum flow of lochia will occur, and it will last for many weeks afterward.
At first, it will likely be very, very heavy. You’ll wear huge (and I mean HUGE) sanitary pads that are essentially adult diapers without the tabs, fitted into disposable stretchy mesh underpants that can be thrown right away after use (because they, too, will often get soiled).
It’s pretty nice, honestly, to have all this contained within a hospital room. They provide the supplies, they change and bleach and sterilize the sheets, and it’s their bathroom. You don’t have to worry about trying to be extra careful with your own furniture and linens and home. Seriously! It’s a big factor.
10 Built-In Babysitters
I think if expectant parents remember one important thing from this article today, it may be this: Staying in the hospital that extra night and day means having other (capable) hands to help you with the basics of caring for your baby.
They can teach you how to soothe the baby, or take over in actually doing it for a while to give the exhausted parents a short break.
They provide the diapers! And they change some of them for you.
Around the clock, there will be a nurse assigned to do all of this and more for you. And although rooming in is often preferred and even encouraged again nowadays, there is also the option of having a break while your baby is cared for in the hospital’s nursery.
9 Keeping Baby Cozy
New moms and their babies often stay 24 – 48 hours after the actual birth, and this can be important and medically advised / necessary.
One important factor you may not consider is just how sensitive brand-new babies are to changes in temperature.
They have a tough time regulating their own body temps at first, and nurses will check their temperature at regular intervals.
On top of this, the hospital will very likely be a temperature-controlled environment. It will be easy to make sure the room is comfortable for everyone – but making sure that the newborn baby stays warm enough is probably going to be the main concern.
Staying put gives new parents help in understanding how to help a baby to stay at a safe temp, as well as a thermostat and circulating air to do it easily.
8 Getting Stuff Done
Going home to real life again after having a baby can be pretty extreme. It might be one of the more shocking and challenging things you’ve experienced yet in your existence.
Even one single element, say breastfeeding or managing to sleep, can be totally insane to try to deal with, and that’s when considering just that thing in isolation.
Staying in the hospital allows you to put all the “real life” stuff on hold for a bit, in a sense.
When you’re not yet home running your own household, keeping up with things such as other kids, cooking, and cleaning, you can have a moment (between feeding and changing and comforting your newborn, of course) to, say, schedule the pediatrician visit for your baby a few days after you’ll be discharged from the hospital. You can (and probably should) call your Ob/Gyn’s office to schedule your own postpartum checkup (often at 6 weeks following a normal vaginal delivery).
Plus, while in the hospital, you’ll get some important health checks and preventative measures out of the way for baby. A hearing test for baby often occurs at this time, and the first immunizations are often given.
7 To Perfect The Art Of Pumping
Having ordered and received your breast pump is great. But do you know how to use it?
Because pregnant women don’t begin pumping until after their babies are actually born, they have to jump in and learn how to properly use the equipment at this (crazy, overwhelming) time.
Knowing how to assemble, disassemble, clean, and store the machine and parts is very important. This is stuff that is in contact with both your breasts and your baby’s digestive system, so you want to keep it clean and safe and avoid risking infection.
Then, of course, there’s knowing how (and when!) to actually use the thing! I remember marveling at how the lactation consultant breezed through her little demonstration of how all the little plastic parts went together and what which button did on the pump.
Though it seems simple now after two babies, hours of breastfeeding, and plenty of pumping, at first, it was like what???
While you’re in the hospital, it’s a great time to learn from the pros, ask questions, and make sure you’ve got it all down.
6 Because The System Says So
I have read a lot about childbirth, and one thing I remember noting before the birth of my second baby is that if you choose on your own to leave early rather than staying another day, there may be issues later on with the insurance not covering the medical expenses. (And there are usually a LOT of expenses, even for a completely uncomplicated vaginal birth.)
Plus, if you look at it another way, as long as your insurance is covering you being there (or at least the bulk of it, in many cases), why the heck wouldn’t you stay?
Moms have been paying into a policy for years, and this is their chance to use the services that are offered to them after having gone through a significant health event.
Yep, one good reason to stay might just be very practical insurance purposes!
5 Doctor Visit Locked In
Yes, you’ll want to go back to your Ob’s office about six weeks after giving birth, but when you stay in the hospital following that birth, your Ob will come right on by to check on you. No fuss, no muss!
You might have some pressing questions about what happened during your own labor and delivery. It’s important for many women to feel at peace with what they’ve just been through – or at the very least to understand the best they can why certain medical decisions were made, or on the most basic level what exactly happened.
They may wish to better understand the severity of their perineal tearing, and what they can expect during their recovery and the future.
The point is, if you’re still in the hospital, it’s a piece of cake for the doctor to just pop by as part of his rounds and check on how you are doing.
Having such immediate postpartum support (and more) can be important for new moms both physically and psychologically.
Plus, doctors and nurses will be able to make sure your uterus is contracting adequately back down to size to prevent dangerous blood loss (and assist you in managing pain, and so on).
4 The Security Of Social Services
There’s a very set routine taking place on the maternity floor of a hospital. Many professionals will come in and out throughout your stay. They’ll have checklists for you to review and checklists of their own.
It can be a bit annoying and overwhelming, especially when you’re really, really tired, but this stuff is important, and that’s why they do it.
One important person who may come by is a social worker. They want to see how you are doing, and also make sure you know what kinds of services are out there in case you find that you need them as you begin your life as a new mom.
Yes, there’s the very medical side to giving birth and having a new baby, but it is also a really, REALLY huge life change.
Postpartum depression (PPD) may develop for some women, or they may find themselves needing help with other problems or tough situations in life with a new child, and this is a time for a professional to reach out to them and provide them with contacts and information – just in case they might need it.
3 The Wonders Of Water
I realize that this might sound stupid to you if you’ve never been experienced labor and childbirth before, but I have done both – twice – and I am here to tell you that a big focus of your life right afterward will probably need to be hydration.
Yep, as in drinking enough fluids.
It might sound dumb, but just think of what your body has just been through: the work the muscles of the uterus and the rest of the body have done!
And then you are usually beginning to breastfeed at this point, as well, so it’s very important to stay adequately hydrated for that, too.
In the hospital, a nurse will make sure you’ve gone pee enough (as a sign of your hydration) in the day following the birth. Seriously, they collect it in a little potty inserted into the toilet at first.
They will also bring you lovely cold water at the press of a button, and of course can hook you up to an IV for hydration if medically necessary.
2 A Nurse To Mind The Medications
Some women opt for the strong stuff to help relieve the pain they are experiencing after giving birth, including, often, perineal tears and uterine cramping.
Others stick with more simple stuff, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and stool softeners (to make sure they don’t have to strain following any tearing being stitched up right after the delivery).
The point is, though, that many women are taking something, and during their exhausted and overwhelmed new-mom state, it’s pretty great to have nurse keeping track of when the last dose was taken.
You don’t have to worry about it at all – they will just come by with a little paper cup containing what you need to take at that time, and make sure that you have the water to take it.
I seriously had to write down when I’d taken my Advil or even text times back and forth with my husband to keep track of it once we were home from the hospital. There are a few other things on new parents’ minds!
1 Because Rest Is Best
I couldn’t personally sleep in the hospital. At all. Sadly, I’m not joking.
I take a while to drift off to sleep, and as soon as I wasn’t currently breastfeeding or holding the baby or using the bathroom or eating or something, I’d maybe get a chance and the peace and quiet to start to fall asleep and then – bam! – in comes the nurse for another blood-pressure check. (They love to seemingly incessantly check your vitals while you’re at the hospital. Makes sense, I suppose, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.)
I do realize, though, that this may be some new moms’ best chance to get just a bit of much-needed rest before going home to the insanity of newborn times.
Nurses are there to help you with the baby, for one thing.
At home, you may be scrambling just to fit in breastfeeding, eating, going pee, and so on and so forth before the next breastfeeding session has to begin.
Sources: TheBump.com, BabyCenter.com