The royal mom doesn't stick around the maternity ward for long

Kate Middleton only gave birth to her third child a few hours ago — but she is already back at home at Kensington Palace. She left the hospital just seven hours after giving birth.

But why does Kate make such a quick exit from the hospital? Well, in the U.K., it isn’t very unusual. In the U.S., new mothers average two days in the hospital before heading home. However, in the U.K., new moms average a day and a half — the shortest postpartum hospital stays of any high-income country, according to a 2016 article in The Guardian. Though Kate did spent the night after giving birth to Prince George in 2013, she left less than 10 hours after welcoming Princess Charlotte in 2015.

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to her third child, Lindo Wing, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK - 23 Apr 2018
Prince William and Kate Middleton

“The length of time a woman spends in hospital will vary depending on their needs,” Louise Silverton, the director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, told The Guardian. “Midwives need to check to make sure women feel up to going home. However, provided the woman is medically fine, has the support she needs at home and the right postnatal care plan in place, and a good community midwife service, then going home even five or six hours after birth may be absolutely fine.”

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Depart The Lindo Wing With Thier Second Child
Kate Middleton and Prince William just a few hours after welcoming Princess Charlotte
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Another reason for Kate’s quick exit — one that’s entirely unique to her — is the sheer frenzy her presence causes at the hospital. Fans camp out for weeks outside and parking restrictions are put in place. Kate, of course, is not the only mother giving birth at the Lindo Wing, and the activity and noise would be overwhelming for anyone.

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If Kate goes home to Kensington Palace today, help is only a phone call away if needed. Members of her medical team are likely on stand-by in case Kate or her new baby boy needs anything.

But there’s one big moment to go before they head home: Just before leaving the hospital, we’ll get a glimpse of the littlest royal on the steps of the Lindo Wing with proud parents Kate and William.