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Hospital Stays After Delivery Shorter With Pandemic Protocols

MONDAY, Nov. 9, 2020 — Although maternal and newborn length of stay in the hospital after delivery is significantly shorter following policy modifications put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no increases in the rate of adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes have been observed, according to a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology: Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Naomi H. Greene, Ph.D., from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues assessed whether labor and delivery unit policy modifications made during the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with differences in outcomes for mothers and newborns. In the analysis, deliveries occurring in January and February 2020 before the modifications (preimplementation group) were compared to those occurring in March and April 2020 after the modifications (postimplementation group). Further comparisons were made with the same time periods in 2018 and 2019.

The researchers found that postpartum length of stay after vaginal delivery was significantly shorter postimplementation: One-night postpartum stay occurred in 48.5 percent of the postimplementation group versus 24.9 percent of the preimplementation group. Similar findings were seen for postoperative length of stay after cesarean delivery of no more than two nights (40.9 percent postimplementation versus 11.8 percent preimplementation). After vaginal delivery, discharge home after one night for newborns occurred in 49.0 percent postimplementation versus 24.9 percent preimplementation. Following cesarean delivery, 42.5 percent of newborns were discharged after no more than two nights in the postimplementation group versus 12.5 percent in the preimplementation group. No differences were seen between the groups for cesarean delivery rate, induction of labor, or adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes.

“Patients can be reassured that appropriate measures have been taken to protect them and their babies and that those changes are not going to impact their ability to have a good and safe delivery with us,” Greene said in a statement.

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