Use of a Comprehensive State Birth Data System to Assess Mother's Satisfaction with Length of Stay

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ObjectiveTo assess length of stay, home visits, and mothers' feelings after full implementation of a law requiring a 48-hour minimum stay for women with normal vaginal deliveries.MethodsThe New Jersey Electronic Birth Certificate System (EBC) was used to capture demographic characteristics, and length of stay (LOS), and to select a sample of women with low risk uncomplicated vaginal deliveries. A follow-up mail survey (with a nonresponder phone component) enhanced the information available on the EBC.ResultsThe response rate for women included in the sample was 82.1% (1276/1555). The mean length of stay was 1.9 days. Sixty-two percent (787) of women thought their LOS after delivery was just right. Women who thought their stays were too short tended to be older, married, working outside the home, or have an LOS of less than 48 hours. The most common reasons for thinking the LOS was too short was a need for rest and concern about the baby.DiscussionThe combination of an augmented electronic birth certificate system and a follow-up survey proved to be a rapid, reliable, and inexpensive method of assessment. The mothers' desires for rest, education on the care of her newborn, and reassurance that any medical complications could be handled, are paramount concerns that need to be taken into account by payers and practitioners wanting to decrease LOS.

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