Irvine Medical Center is offering new mothers an extra day in the hospital free of charge to give them more time to rest, bucking the national trend toward shorter hospital stays.
Hospital officials, who say they are the first in Orange County to make such an offer, are betting that more patients will choose their facility because of the relaxed policy. A sister hospital in Florida and another in the Midwest recently launched the same program, said Brenda Schiffer, director of women's and children's services at the 176-bed medical center.
The hospital has received an overwhelming number of requests from patients for extended stays, Schiffer said. Patients who have vaginal deliveries typically stay less than 24 hours and patients who have caesarean sections stay about 48 hours because that's what their insurance pays, Schiffer said.
"Moms need to rest and recuperate," she said. "They're in there for such a short period of time that it's hard to get all the instruction done. It's good to have that extra time to go over all the questions."
Several states have passed or are considering laws requiring that women be allowed to stay hospitalized for two days after a vaginal delivery and four days after a C-section.
Irvine Medical Center delivers 1,800 to 2,000 babies per year.