This section aims to prepare you for what to expect if you are booked for an elective (planned) Caesarean section.
The majority of women undergoing a planned Caesarean section will be looked after using an enhanced recovery care package. This includes early food intake after surgery, early mobilisation and also a planned discharge time. You should plan to be going home on the day following your Caesarean section if all has gone well for you and your baby. It’s a good idea to plan for this, and make sure you have a supply of simple pain relief in the house, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
You will be asked to attend pre-operative appointment a day or so before the operation. At this appointment, the midwife will explain the procedure on the day, give you your pre-operative medications and drinks, and conduct some blood tests. The midwife will also confirm if the operation will be in the morning or the afternoon at this appointment.
On the evening before your surgery
- The evening before your surgery have a large meal high in carbohydrate eg, pasta.
- At 10.00 pm have a snack.
- At 10.00 pm have your pre-medications.
On the morning of your operation you should have a shower at home. Use a body wash or soap and pay particular attention to your groin area and belly button during washing. Please do not use creams or lotions on your abdomen after your shower. Please do not shave/wax your groin area as this can increase the risk of infection.
If your Caesarean section is booked in the MORNING
Please ensure you and your birth partner attend the Antenatal Assessment Unit (AAU) at Saint Mary’s Hospital for 7.30 am. This department is situated on the second floor.
- You can eat and drink normally up until 2.00 am on the morning of your operation.
- Do not chew gum or eat sweets after 2.00 am.
- Between 2.00 am and 6.00 am you may drink still water.
- At 6.00 am have 2 bottles of your pre-op drinks with your pre-medications.
- After 6.00 am you are to remain nil by mouth (do not eat or drink anything at all).
If your Caesarean section is booked in the AFTERNOON
- Please ensure you and your birth partner report to the reception area at Ward 64, Saint Mary’s Hospital for 11.00 am. This ward is situated on the second floor.
- It is important for you to have breakfast but you must finish eating by 6.00 am.
- You can eat and drink normally up until 6.00 am on the morning of your operation.
- Do not chew gum or eat sweets after 6.00 am.
- Between 6.00 am and 10.00 am you may drink still water.
- At 10.00 am have 2 bottles of your pre-op drinks with your pre-medications.
- After 10.00 am you are to remain nil by mouth (do not eat or drink anything at all).
On the day of your operation:
You will be seen by an anaesthetist on the ward prior to your operation.
- Please ensure that you are not wearing any jewellery, make up or nail polish on admission.
- Please minimise the number of valuables you bring with you to the hospital.
- Remember to bring all of the following items into hospital with you on the day:
- Warm clothing, a dressing gown and slippers. Staying warm is very important. It reduces your risk of post-operative infections and other complications. Please tell staff if you feel cold.
- Maternity pads
- Ready mixed milk (starter pack) for baby (if you are planning on bottle feeding your baby).
- Baby clothes
What to expect after your operation
- Immediately after your operation you will go to the recovery area.
- Providing your operation has been straightforward, you will be offered food and drink in the recovery area. You can eat the snack you brought from home.
- After approximately 1 hour in recovery you will return to the ward.
- Your urinary catheter will be removed at 6.00 pm if your operation was in the morning and at midnight if your operation was in the afternoon.
- You are encouraged to mobilise as soon as possible. We would expect you to be mobile within 6 hours of arriving back on the ward. This will help you to recover faster. You are encouraged to have 3 short walks within 24 hours of your operation.
- You will be shown how to administer your DVT prophylaxis injections, (Fragmin). You will need to administer this for the 7 days after your operation to reduce your risk of blood clots.
- Ensure you have adequate supplies of simple pain relieving medications at home as these are no longer available on discharge from hospital. (Paracetamol 1g every 4-6 hours, no more than 8x500mg tablets in a 24 hour period and Ibuprofen 400mg every 6-8 hours, not more than 6x200mg tablets in a 24 hour period.)
- On discharge from hospital you will be given some medication to take home with you. You will receive a 7-day supply of Fragmin, as described above.
- You will also receive a 5-day supply of Dihydrocodeine 30mg. This is a strong pain relieving medication that you can take up to four times per 24 hours. As your pain becomes less you should aim to stop this pain relieving medication first.
Expected length of stay
Providing all is well following your caesarean section you will be discharged home the following day. (As per NICE guidelines 2011).
Longer stays will be planned as required on an individual basis.