British mothers are sent home from hospital after childbirth more quickly than in any other developed country, new research suggests.
They are spending an average of just a day and a half in maternity units after giving birth – 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 having a child, which could result in them receiving inadequate post-natal care.
The country with the longest length of stay was Ukraine where new mothers spend 6.2 days surrounded by health workers.
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.
“The length of time a woman spends in hospital will vary depending on their needs, and many other factors for example if a woman has had a Caesarean section,” said Louise Silverton, director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives.
“The decision about when a woman goes home after birth is one that should be made through discussion with the woman, midwives and medical staff. The length of time and the care of the woman should be based on her needs, not on resources or availability of beds,” she added.
Average length of stay in hospital after giving birth to a single child by vaginal delivery
Source: Plos Medicine