How soon after giving birth can you leave hospital?

How long you have to stay in hospital after labour and when you can go home depends on the type of birth you have and your baby's health...

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Following the birth of her 3rd baby, Kate Middleton left hospital on the same day she went into labour (around 7 hours afterwards).

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But how soon you’ll be able to go home after having a baby depends on a number of factors – including how the birth went, how your baby’s doing and whether it’s your 1st child or not.

If the birth is uncomplicated, and both you and your baby are fine, it’s definitely possible to go home the same day.

One of our mums, Eve S, tells us she went home 6 hours after her 1st baby and 4 hours after her 2nd.

2 instances when it’s unlikely you’ll be able to go home on the same day are if you’ve had a C-section or an epidural.

Staying in hospital after a C-section

If you’ve had a C-section, you could be required to stay in for 3 or 4 days (though you might be able to go home sooner if you and your baby are both well).

One of our mums, Mairead D had caesareans with all 3 of her children and says: “My 1st was born at 8am on Friday and I was home on the Sunday afternoon.

“My 2nd was born on Wednesday evening at 6:30pm and I didn’t get home until the Saturday afternoon as we were both on antibiotics. My 3rd born just before 12pm on Friday and I was out on Sunday afternoon.”

Staying in hospital after an epidural

If you’ve had an epidural, it can take around 12 hours to regain feeling in your legs, so, again it could be that you need to stay in hospital for a couple of days.

Sarah A tells us: [I stayed in hospital for] 3 days, my bloods weren’t right and I had an epidural too.”

You might also need to stay in overnight if you’ve had a tear that needs to be monitored. And one of our mums had to stay overnight as she was put on antibiotics.

The time of your birth and whether it’s your first baby

As babies don’t tend to stick to ‘business hours’ you might find you have an overnight stay if labour starts in the wee small hours.

Catherine M recalls: “2nd baby I gave birth at 2.15am, then we got to go home 4pm the same day, I was over the moon, I’d had a shower wore actual clothes this time .”

And one of the team mums, Tara B recalls that while her birth was straightforward and her baby healthy, she stayed in an extra night because it was her 1st child.

“I had my daughter around 12.40am, stayed that night and then stayed another night.

“Looking back I’m not sure there was any reason for the second night in hospital other than I wasn’t sure what I was doing, I was tired and exhausted and it was good to have the nurses nearby to help me if I wasn’t sure what to do.”

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