In years past, labor and birth were treated much more as a medical “complication” or “condition” to be medically “resolved” through the labor and birth process. Because of this, it was not uncommon for a mom in the US in the 1950s to spend a full week in the hospital, even after a vaginal birth.
Today, many physicians have recognized that birth is very much a normal and natural part of life, and doesn’t need to be treated; rather, it needs to be facilitated and monitored. Because of this shift, combined with technological advances that have made labor and birth safer and more efficient, hospital stays tend to be much shorter.
If you have a vaginal birth and there are no complications for either you or your baby, you are likely to be able to go home within 24 to 48 hours after giving birth. Depending on your individual circumstance, you may be able to go home even sooner. If you had anesthesia during delivery, it may be longer as it will take time for the anesthetic to work its way out of your system.
For a cesarean section delivery, you will stay in the hospital at least three days. A cesarean section is major abdominal surgery, and the recovery process is much more lengthy and much more difficult.