health

Why no one has the right to comment on the Duchess's birth.

Were you, like me glued to the news on the weekend?

We heard that the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labour and we settled in for what we thought would be the long wait until we found out – Prince or Princess. I imagined we had days ahead – or at the very least 24 hours – to analyse and speculate on what was going to come out from behind those doors of the Lindo wing.

But things in royal circles work fast and Australians woke up on Sunday morning to live photos of the newest Princess and real live footage of the Duchess hot footing it out of hospital.

After ten hours. Outta there. Home.

And weren’t we outraged?

Only a few hours and the Duchess has left the hospital.

Is this safe?

From twitter to breakfast TV, right across the world the analysis went something like this:

Royal baby. It’s a girl. Wow isn’t she cute. How good does Kate look? What is she thinking leaving hospital so soon? That is unheard of. She SHOULD have stayed longer.

Midwives and obstetricians entered the debate. Mums on Facebook told tales of popping one out and heading home to hang up the washing still wet in the machine. Women discussed how she would be coping, and whether this was just an option for a royal. Surely SHE had help that none of us did.

Others cried out that it was irresponsible and that the Duchess was a bad role model.

The reality is that all women, and all births are individual. Choice, appropriateness and safety are the main criteria for a decision based around an early discharge.

What this comes down to again is that it is her body. Her baby. Her business.

Talk shows debated the early discharge.

For me, with my second and third babies I couldn’t wait to get out of hospital and planned to leave the moment I could. My plans - which raised many eyebrows amongst friends - were stymied when both my babies were jaundice. Medical advice saw me stay.

Had I been advised it was safe, I would have donned my trackies and ugh boots and been out of there as soon as I could pack up the maternity pads.

Most women I expressed this urge to stared at me in horror.

Why rush to get out?

It was an overwhelming desire I had to be back with my other children and my awareness that they needed me as well.

The Duke and Duchess leave the Lido wing. (Getty Images)

Other women have said they elected for an early discharge because they felt they could cope at home. “I wasn’t sick,” said one, "I had a baby... Hospital is for sick people.”

One of the voices in the chorus of discomfort about the Duchess’ early discharge has been the Australian Medical Association Obstetrics and Gynaecology spokesman Gino Pecoraro.

He told News Limited the practise contains risks to the mother’s well being and the baby’s welfare.

“There are some studies showing that early hospital discharge is one of the factors in breastfeeding not continuing long-term, and it has been linked to an increased risk of post-natal depression.”

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But not all experts agreed with him.

Caroline Homer from the Midwives Association said she couldn’t believe that the Duchess stayed as long as she did.

"There's really no good evidence that you need to stay longer than 4-6 hours, and I'm not surprised she went home at 10 hours. I'm actually surprised she waited that long.”

Prince George was the only visitor to the hospital. Image via Getty.

Midwife Cath, who has over 40 years experience in midwifery told iVillage that it isn't just because she is a Princess that she was able to be discharged early. "It happens all the time in Australia."

She says that in her experience women often leave on the wrong day. Day four or five is when women are emotional and often when their milk comes in. Midwife Cath says that she believes women should either leave within 24 hours or after seven days.

An early discharge, says Midwife Cath is perfectly safe and normal.  She encourages women to be realistic and have a plan A and a plan B.

"They need to have backup support at home, but they also need to know they can present themselves at hospital if they are concerned at all and they need lots of family support."

"It is absolutely safe and so many women go home after six hours, we are talking a normal vaginal delivery with no complications. For a lot of women, it is better for them to be in their home environment in their own bed than staying in hospital. "

One thing the experts all agree on though is that the decision is simply one mothers – including royal mothers - need to make along with their medical carers and the rest of us should just butt out.

Did you leave hospital early? 

CLICK through the gallery for all the photos from the baby announcement on the weekend:

Want more? Try:

What your body really looks like after having four kids.

Midwife Cath reveals the truth behind those motherhood myths.

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