In most cases you can expect to take your baby home between six and 48 hours following a normal vaginal delivery, or after three days following a caesarean birth. When you are ready to go home it is important to provide the staff with plenty of notice, as there are many things that have to be organised and planned prior to your discharge. All babies will have a discharge check, usually performed by a midwife, before leaving hospital.
Many families prefer to settle in at home as soon as possible following the birth of their baby. Introducing a new baby into the family environment as early as possible:
- reduces the time you spend apart from your family members
- allows you and your baby to have more uninterrupted sleep
- helps siblings adjust to the changes that a new baby brings.
It is important to schedule a review appointment, usually with your GP, within five to seven days following the birth for both yourself and your baby, then again at six weeks after birth.
Before you leave
Before you leave hospital you should get the following information from your midwife or doctor:
- any follow-up outpatient appointments
- arrangements for extended midwifery service
- personal health record
- birth registration forms
- Centrelink forms.
Before you leave you should also ensure that:
- you have all of your personal belongings
- all items held for you are collected including medication
- you obtain any relevant medical certificates.
Discharge against medical advice
With few exceptions, you have the right to leave hospital when you choose. This may be a serious step when taken against the advice of your obstetrician and paediatrician and could pose a threat to you or your baby’s wellbeing.
If you choose to be discharged under these circumstances, you will be asked to sign a ‘disclaimer’ form, and the responsibility for this action will rest with you. However, if your condition does not improve or if it causes you concern, you should not hesitate to seek further medical advice or to return to the hospital’s emergency department.
Extended Midwifery Service
The Extended Midwifery Service is offered to mothers in a 25km radius of Mackay. The service helps bridge the gap between hospital and home, allowing new mothers the comfort of their own home with the security of professional support. Providing both you and your baby are well, you can go home from hospital six hours following birth and have a midwife visit you in your home. The number of visits depends on individual circumstances.