Patients who are "socially vulnerable"—defined as Black or Hispanic, publicly insured or non-English-speaking—are more likely to have been discharged from the hospital early following a C-section both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Amherst College.

This research was presented at the 2022 annual conference of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The study included nearly 1,900 cesarean deliveries between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2020: 694 before the start of the pandemic in March and 1,171 during the pandemic.

Early discharge was defined as a hospital stay of four days (96 hours) or fewer. Researchers found median stays of 95 hours before the pandemic and 76 hours during the pandemic. ACOG lists the typical hospital stay following a C-section as between 48 and 96 hours. The study found that of the eligible deliveries, 54 percent had early discharges pre-pandemic compared with 71 percent