The number of births in hospitals in the United States in 1957 was five times that in 1935. The average duration of the patient's stay in a maternity hospital has been shortened substantially, but it is probable that the lag in growth of facilities, the lack of personnel, and higher costs are in part responsible for the shorter stay. A shortage of professional nurses has necessitated increased use of auxiliary personnel. Early dismissal of the patient deprives her of some undeniable benefits of hospitalization and increases the responsibilities of the family physician. If the postpartum period is thought of as but one stage in the continuing health care which all women need throughout a lifetime, these trends should be viewed with concern.