- Researchers looked at 202,000 babies born between March 2017 and August 2020, 57,000 of whom were during the pandemic
- Short hospital stay was defined as two days or less after vaginal birth and three days or less after C-section
- About 43% of babies born during the pandemic had a shorter hospital stay compared to 28.5% of babies born before the pandemic
- Infant hospitalization within a week of discharge decreased from 1.2% pre-epidemic to 1.1% during the pandemic
A new study shows that babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic were less likely to stay in the hospital, but there was no change in the risk of being re-admitted.
Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 28.5 percent of all newborns lived before the pandemic in smaller hospitals, compared to 43 percent during the pandemic.
However, the share of infant rehabilitation within a week of discharge did not increase last year.
The team says the findings suggest that despite changes in hospital policies, it does not appear to have a poor outcome for infants.
A new study finds that 43% of babies born during the pandemic have shorter hospital stays than 28.5% of babies born before the pandemic (file image)
Before the pandemic, it was not uncommon for children to stay in the hospital for a week before being discharged.
However, after being hit by COVID-19, many hospitals changed their policies so that healthy children could not stay in the hospital for more than two or three days for fear that they would become infected with the virus.
First author Dr Sarah Handley said, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic forced hospitals to change policies and procedures around childbirth, including faster discharge for healthy term infants, which provided a natural experiment Which allowed us to compare results before and during the pandemic. Participating neonatologists with the division of neonatology at CHOP in a statement.
‘These findings suggest that short hospital stays after birth in healthy term infants may be safe with respect to infant rehabilitation, although additional results need to be investigated.’
For the study, published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics, the team analyzed data from an application that collects electronic health records.
They looked at 35 health systems and compared the length of hospital stay before (March to August 2017, 2018 and 2019) and during the pandemic (March 2020 to August 2020).
A short stay was defined as two nights or less after a vaginal birth and three nights or less after a cesarean section (C-section).
The researchers also looked at rates of re-admittance of infants to hospitals within a week before the pandemic and during the COVID-era.
Nearly 202,000 infants examined, 57,000 of whom were born with COVID-19, found that short-term hospitalizations were 1.5 times more common during the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, 28.5 percent of babies had a short hospital stay, which rose to 43 percent during COVID-19.
For vaginal births, the rate increased from a low of 25.6 percent pre-Covid to 39.3 percent post-COVD.
For C-section births, 40.1 percent of newborns had smaller hospitalizations before the pandemic, compared to 61 percent after the pandemic.
However, infant rehabilitation did not increase and, in fact, declined slightly from 1.2 per cent before covid to 1.1 per cent during covid.
“These findings suggest that shared decision-making between families and physicians was likely, as was the case during COVID-19, resulting in safer earlier discharge with respect to infant hospitalization,” said senior author Dr. . In a statement to CHOP.
‘Further study of mitigating factors such as home services, telemedicine visits, and other supports could be altered during the pandemic.
‘Additionally, it is important to examine the effects of the pandemic on other infant and maternal outcomes before changing birth hospitalization policy.’