A study in the August 2000 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology analyzed the data collected from almost 50,000 births and concluded that newborns sent home from the hospital within 30 hours of birth have an increased risk of death during the first year of life compared with babies discharged later.
The risk of death in the first month was 3.65 times higher in the early discharge group, and was 1.61 times higher during the next eleven months.
A few extra hours in the hospital (30-78 hours total) allows for diagnosis of subtle conditions that might be missed when the stay is rushed. Also, some types of congenital heart disease don’t become apparent on the first day, but have clear signs shortly thereafter.
Also, much more teaching is possible once there has been a little time to recover from the ‘main event’.
A two-day stay seems to me a wonderful investment in launching an expanding family on a good course for the first year.
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