A South Australian maternity hospital is shaking things up for c-section mums, sending them home after only 24 hours.
And the fast caesarean section turnaround is set to spread to other maternity hospitals around the state too, after a successful trial found it cost up to $1300 less for every baby born.
The super speedy c-section turnaround at Adelaide’s Lyell McEwin Hospital is a huge change from the standard three to four day stay required after a caesarean in most Australian maternity wards.
Faster c-sections for mums
While women in public hospitals can opt to go home as soon as four hours after a natural birth, a c-section usually always requires a longer hospital stay. But a medical trial from Lyell McEwin Hospital and the University of Adelaide is turning this idea around. Instead, mums are discharged within 24 to 30 hours after a c-section.
Why are South Australia so keen to get mamas moving on? Turns out, a speedy return home can be beneficial for mum, bub AND relieve pressure on public hospital beds.
The first trial of the Enhanced Recovery Elective Caesarean (EREC) program found that early discharge had no impact on either mum or bub re-admissions to hospital.
Lead Researcher, Associate Professor Lynette Cusack, says it’s about giving new mums more options for care.
“The aim of the EREC program is not about early discharge or reducing costs, but about giving mothers more options to have the same care safely at home,” she says.
“They reported that they felt safe, supported and were satisfied with the experience.”
The trial followed 87 women who had elective (not emergency) c-sections at the Modbury and Lyell McEwin hospitals in 2016. The women received extra midwife visits at home after leaving hospital.
Better c-section recovery at home
Mother-of-two, Melissa Trump joined the trial, going home soon after delivering son Jett via an elective c-section. “The main benefit is being in your own home, with your family,” Melissa told The Advertiser. “I feel more comfortable at home… and it’s easier for people to come and visit.”
“I’m also a lot more mobile at home, which is really important after major surgery and the pain hasn’t been an issue because there’s lots of distraction and I have a lot of support.”
Assoc Professor Cusack says all women in the trial already had children and most were keen to get home as soon as possible. She says only those with low-risk pregnancies who had support at home were eligible.
Other SA hospitals to join in
Researchers now want it introduced to all maternity wards across South Australia. With one in three Australian births happening via c-section, early hospital discharges would help ease pressure on busy maternity wards.
Some maternity hospitals in other states, including Brisbane’s Mater Mother’s Hospital, already offer a similar program for caesarean mums.
Researchers will present their findings at next month’s Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RANZCOG) meeting.
What do you think? Have you had a c-section? Would you have wanted an early discharge?
And if you are planning on a caesarean birth, make sure to read this article about the six things c-section mamas need to know BEFORE the doctor picks up a scalpel.