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The effect of early postnatal discharge from hospital for healthy women and term infants

Projects include:

The effect of early postnatal discharge from hospital for healthy women and term infants: a systematic review.

Neonatal hospitalisation in the first 28 days after birth: An exploratory cross-sectional study of preventable neonatal admissions in England 2008-2014.

Maternal readmission rate and duration of postnatal length of hospital stay:
A population-based cohort study

Mothers giving birth in UK hospitals are often discharged home a few hours after their baby’s birth, but there is little evidence on the consequences for babies and mothers. This concern is being explored in a number of projects. A systematic review on infant outcomes following very early discharge after delivery is in progress. Admissions of infants to hospital and readmissions of mothers will be described using national Hospital Episode Statistics data. Analysis of infant HES data is in progress: in collaboration with consultant paediatricians, conditions in infants admitted to hospital which could potentially have been ameliorated or prevented at an earlier stage in the care pathway have been identified and trends are being explored. A multicentre cohort study is in progress and will be able to look at these questions in more detail. In a qualitative research project in progress, the experience of parents whose babies are admitted to hospital in the first weeks after birth will be explored using semi-structured interviews.

Study lead, PhD student, EXJ480 at student dot bham dot ac dot uk, University of Birmingham

Examine effects of very early hospital discharge on women, babies and health professionals.

There is increasing pressure on Maternity Services from the numbers of women giving birth and this means women are sent home much earlier than they used to be. The local maternity units have asked us to work with them to look at the effect this may have on women, their babies and families as well as the staff who care for them. So the CLAHRC Maternity and Child Health team are developing a range of projects exploring the impact of early discharge which include:

  • We will find out from the community midwives which mothers and babies are re-admitted to hospital as this is not accurately collected. This will mean we will be able to do a Birmingham citywide study (called a cohort study), comparing routinely collected anonymous local data for all births in the city over a three month period, and will mean we can look for factors related to readmission to hospital for women and babies in the early postnatal period.
  • Information is collected routinely by all hospitals nationally and we are planning to use this information (Hospital Episode Statistics) to describe readmission of women and babies during the postnatal period, and explore links with the length of postnatal hospital stay.

Further projects are planned, though these are still at the development stage.

Keywords: Maternity, Maternity Services, Women's Health, Community Midwifery, Length of Stay, Early Discharge.