Parents' experiences of early discharge after a planned caesarean section: a qualitative interpretive study

Randi Karkov Knudsen; Anne Raabjerg Kruse; Stina Lou

Kan man udskrive fødende kun 28 timer efter et planlagt kejsersnit? Ja, det kan man faktisk godt. Med god forberedelse og opfølgning kan flergangsfødende sagtens føle sig trygge ved en tidlig udskrivelse. De fleste glæder sig faktisk til at komme hjem. Det viser en interviewundersøgelse, som DEFACTUM har lavet i samarbejde med Regionshospitalet Horsens og Hospitalsenhed Vest.   



The birth rate in Denmark is increasing, and the rate of births by caesarean section has increased to more than 20%. Thus, the obstetric departments have been put under pressure to identify new solutions to optimize the maternity care system, in which early discharge might be considered. The aim of this study was to explore parents' experiences of the postnatal care after planned caesarean section with focus on factors that support or hinder early discharge.                       


An interpretive, hermeneutic approach was chosen, using qualitative interviews with multiparous women and their partners. Data analysis was performed using thematic analysis.                                                                                                               

Participants and setting

Twelve women and partners were recruited from two hospital-based maternity units in Denmark. The inclusion criteria were low-risk Danish-speaking multiparous women having a planned caesarean section with a singleton pregnancy (gestational age 37+0 to 41+6 weeks). Seven sets of parents were discharged before 28 hours and five were discharged after 48 hours.                       


Three main themes were identified as important for timing of discharge: 1) Setting for recovery 2) Views on length of stay, and 3) Preparation and individual planning. All parents valued the safe and supportive environment at the hospital, but several preferred early discharge as they felt more comfortable in their home environment and wanted to be together as a family with all siblings. When considering appropriate time of discharge, the main issues were that pain was manageable, that breastfeeding was initiated successfully and that professional support was available after discharge. Finally, early discharge required preparation and planning and the parents stressed the importance of knowing that they would not be discharged unless they felt ready.

Conclusion and implication for practice

A clear link was observed between the care package the parents received and their views on the optimal time of discharge. Based on our findings it seems likely that a significant proportion of parents will accept and feel confident about early discharge if individual circumstances are taken into account in the antenatal planning of a caesarean section. 

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År 2020
Udgiver Midwifery


Stina Lou

Stina Lou

+45 7841 4364


Stina Lou