When it comes to childbirth and your subsequent hospital stay, there is no one size fits all. If you choose to give birth at a hospital, the minimum hospital stay after childbirth in 2022 depends on many factors, including any pre-labor health concerns, the type of delivery you have, if there are any complications, the health of both you and your baby. And, parents of children in 2022 now also have to consider their hospital’s COVID protocols which often aim to get parents and baby home as soon as possible to avoid any potential COVID exposures. 

You probably learned about the different potential birthing options in your childbirth classes, but it’s important to remember the care and duration of hospital stay for post-vaginal birth, and post-cesarean birth can differ drastically. The range tends to vary between 24 hours and 5 days. 


Tinyhood Childbirth 101: Learn About Labor Through Postpartum

How long do you stay in the hospital after a vaginal delivery? 
After a vaginal delivery where there were no complications, you can expect to be in the hospital for 1-2 days. During this time you and your baby will be consistently monitored for post-birth complications. You will also be evaluated and treated by your healthcare providers for any tears or excessive bleeding, changes to vital signs, as well as waiting for any anesthesia to wear off. 

Most often, you will then be moved from labor and delivery to the postpartum unit where you will continue to be monitored and try to rest and spend time with baby. Your support person is also welcome to stay during this time.  Your healthcare provider will check your uterus to ensure it is getting smaller , as well as assess for bleeding. During this time you will have the opportunity to meet with a lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding and answer any questions you may have. 

If you do have any complications after birth, you will be encouraged to stay for the appropriate amount of time, likely a minimum of 48 hours. 

Once you're discharged you will continue to care for yourself postpartum (need tips on this? Check out our Childbirth 101 online class for all things postpartum care)  and likely encouraged to bring your baby to the pediatrician within 2-3 days of coming home. 

How long do you stay in the hospital after a cesarean delivery?
After a c-section, be it planned or unplanned, your minimum hospital stay after childbirth in 2022 will likely be around 3-5 days. Again, if there were any complications you can expect to stay longer. 

You will be monitored by your healthcare provider for all the same things as a vaginal delivery, as well as for any surgical complications. Your baby will also be monitored for the first few days after birth to ensure you are both well enough to leave. 

Before you can go home after a cesarean birth, you also must: 

  • Be able to walk to the bathroom unassisted
  • Urinate 
  • Keep food and drink down
  • Pass gas

Once you are discharged you will continue to heal at home which means: limited activity, no lifting anything heavier than the baby, and incision care.  

How long do you stay in the hospital after a childbirth with complications? 

While most often labor and birth goes swimmingly, there are complications that can arise during not only your labor and birth but also the postpartum period. These complications range from postpartum hemorrhage to preeclampsia (yes, preeclampsia can happen postpartum, too!) and, due to the complex nature of not only these complications but past medical history it is hard to say exactly how long you may end up being hospitalized. Educate yourself and of course communicate with your providers throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period as they likely will have the best idea about length of hospital stay. 

To learn more about what to expect during labor and delivery, as well as how to prepare for childbirth, check out our online class, Childbirth 101: From Labor through Postpartum. In this class, labor and delivery nurse Ashley Derderian Sousa will walk you through all the ways labor could go, plus what to expect from your pregnant body, how to effectively manage pain, tips for your support team, prenatal and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and more. 
Tinyhood Childbirth 101: Taught By A Labor and Delivery Nurse