The day is nearing; you have a planned c-section and have accomplished just about everything on your to-do list. There’s one thing you may be curious about and that is what is the best last meal to eat before your c-section. This is a very valid question considering the likelihood of an emergency c- section.
Maybe this never crossed your mind but trust me there are foods you should absolutely steer clear of and Mama, I want you to be prepared! The main thing to remember is not to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before your cesarean section.
Mentally Preparing for a C-Section
Let’s discuss other ways to prepare for a c-section because anticipating your C-section experience can help reduce surprises and promote better healing.
Be an active participant in your care and be sure to ask your doctor what to expect from your C-section. Mentally preparing for your birth experience can seem daunting at first, especially in the event of a Cesarean. It’s major surgery, after all—a surgery that is often stigmatized unfairly.
Few things can be more frightening than having to go into surgery without knowing what to expect. Fortunately, you have the power to get the information you need ahead of time.
Ask your OB/GYN to give you the full rundown of what to expect during a C-section. Check in with the hospital you’ll be delivering at as well to understand the basic protocols. If you are planning to deliver at home or a birth center, ask what to expect in the event of having to transfer into the care of a hospital for a C-section.
Read books and articles from trusted, reputable sources. And don’t forget to ask other parents you know about their own experiences. This knowledge will set the foundation as you begin to mentally prepare for a C-section.
The benefits of meditation have been documented thoroughly for a wide array of applications, including surgery. And while we know meditation can be helpful for pregnancy, delivery, and beyond, it’s important to recognize that there are science-backed reasons to include it in your C-section birth plan as well.
The beauty of meditation is that you can incorporate it into your life in so many different ways. For some, unguided meditations in which you simply sit still in silence and focus on your breath can be helpful.
5 Tips & Last Meals Ideas Before a Scheduled C-Section
It’s funny. The moment you’re told you can’t eat for like 8-10 hours before your c-section, that last meal is all you can think about! You may even be saving certain foods as a form of satisfaction before you meet your newest family member.
Ask Des, there were MANY tabs open on my laptop because I was super curious of what the best breakfast before c section may be. Because I love peanut butter, I was very happy to find that is comes highly recommended. YUM! So, you don’t have to fill up your internet with the same question, I’ll make it easier for you.
Here ya go, Mama! Check out the tips below to help guide your final meal before your c-section experience.
- Work in Soft Foods like Yogurt, Bananas, and Peanut Butter
- Add a High-Fiber Item like Brown Rice, Prunes, or Avocado
- Enjoy Lean Protein Paired with a Fat
- Avoid Spicy Foods like Hot Wings and Salsa
- Soup, Salad, and Sandwich Is Always a Good Option
What to Do the Night Before Your C-Section
The evening before your surgery you may eat and drink normally. You must stop eating eight hours prior to your caesarean section. However, you may continue to drink clear fluids up to two hours before the procedure. If you are on medication and are instructed to take it on the day of your surgery, you may take it with a sip of water only.
Clear fluids include:
- Water, apple or cranberry juice, clear soda such as ginger ale, clear tea with or without sugar
- No orange juice or any other juice with pulp
- No milk, cream, or whitener
- No gum or candy
Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s instructions for the night before surgery. These typically include bathing and not applying any lotions or powders to the skin, as well as instructions for how long you cannot eat or drink before the surgery.
If you are concerned that the night before c section can’t sleep, talk to your doctor who can prescribe a prescription sleep aid for the evening prior to your surgery. Your doctor may give you other prescription medications to be taken before your surgery as well.
Be sure to have your bags packed and ready to go in the car. You most likely will not need them until after the birth and can send someone down to the car to get them. This plan actually works better for most people, so you don’t have to keep track of the bags as you move from the triage area to surgery to the post-surgical care ward, and then finally, the postpartum area.
What to Pack for a Scheduled C-Section?
If this is your first birth or even first scheduled c-section, you may be wondering what to take to the hospital. Moms undergoing cesarean usually don’t need “time passers” like magazines and Netflix as moms who are having a vaginal birth do.
C-section labor is only as long as the operation, but the hospital stay is longer — typically 3-5 days versus 1-2 following vaginal delivery — because you will be recovering from childbirth and surgery. In the midst of all this packing, don’t forget about dad. He may need a few things in his hospital bag as he awaits baby’s arrival.
Plan on packing at least two hospital bags: one for the procedure and the other for your postpartum
Here are some ideas for your C-Section procedure bag checklist:
- Folder or small bag for paperwork
- VIP contact list, including sitters for older children and pets
- Eyeglasses, if needed
- No-skid socks
- Lip balm
- Hair ties
- Charging cables for all electronics
- OTC medicine for birth partner
Here are some ideas for your postpartum bag checklist:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap in a squeeze bottle
- Pillow in a patterned case that won’t be mistaken for hospital laundry
- Towel, shower shoes, and bathrobe
- Underwear with a high waisted band that sits above your incision
- Bras (2) – nursing bras if you plan to nurse, or sports bras if you don’t
- Breastfeeding pillow to keep baby off your incision
- Slip-on shoes, so you don’t have to bend over
- Going home outfit for mom
- Going home outfit for baby
- Installed car seat
- Extra-long charging cable for devices
I recommend having your bag packed and in the car by 37 weeks. No matter when your c-section is scheduled if your water breaks – sis, it’s time to go!
What to Expect at the Hospital?
You can use your c-section birth plan to write down anything that is important to you about your pregnancy and the birth. Your healthcare team will try to meet your wishes where possible.
Most hospitals strive to make a cesarean delivery as family friendly as possible, with Mom awake (but appropriately numb), her partner in the room and a chance to meet, greet, cuddle, and possibly breastfeed baby (if you so choose) right after delivery if there’s no medical reason not to.
And because you aren’t preoccupied with pushing or pain, you’re often able to relax and marvel at the birth. Fortunately, this is a fast operation, with the procedure itself lasting just 10 minutes or less, followed by another 30 minutes or so to stitch you back up.
What will the procedure look like?
A typical C-section is straightforward and follows a tightly scripted game plan. The procedure begins with a routine IV and anesthesia — usually an epidural or spinal block, so the lower half of your body will be numb, but you’ll stay awake.
Then you’ll be prepped by having your abdomen shaved (if necessary) and washed with an antiseptic solution. The operating room staff will insert a catheter into your bladder and place sterile drapes over your tummy. Your birthing coach or partner will be outfitted in sterile garb and allowed to sit near your head and hold your hand.
The emergency room staff will place a short screen blocking your vision of your abdomen, so the field remains sterile and so you don’t have to watch yourself getting cut.
However, you may opt for a “gentle C-section”, so the drape will be clear; otherwise, you can also ask for a mirror to watch. Even if you don’t want to see the cut, you may want to catch a glimpse of your baby as she emerges, so ask your practitioner to lift the little cutie up for a quick peek after delivery!
It’s unlikely that you’ll feel any pain during the procedure, apart from a bit of tugging or pressure as the baby is removed. You’ll be numb from the waist down if you’ve been given a regional anesthetic, which means you’ll be awake during the operation and when your baby emerges.
Do’s and Don’ts After a C-Section
A c-section is a major operation, and you will need time to recover. This can take about 8 weeks but may take longer. Make sure you are stocked up on the essentials you’ll need to recover after your c-section. After having a baby by C-section, it’s normal to experience pain, soreness and even bleeding. After all, you’ve just had major abdominal surgery — your body needs time to recover. It also means you will need to be more aware of what you can’t do as your body heals.
If possible, ask friends and family for help when you come home from the hospital. Ideally, you should
have someone to help you at home day and night for at least the first 2 weeks. Your recovery is going to be harder than if you’d had baby vaginally, so all hands need to be on deck.
If you have older children, prepare them for what they can expect when you come home. You won’t be able to pick them up, but they can climb gently onto your lap while you’re sitting on the sofa, or they could cuddle up next to you.
Recovery after a c section
Your main focus is to rest, Mama. Be still and bond with your new bundle of joy! The biggest change is going to be with your physical activity until you are fully healed.
Walking is permitted and encouraged, it helps to keep your blood flowing and reduce clots as well as constipation. Keeping up with your hygiene routine by showering daily is also very helpful for your incision scar.
Remember, you are recuperating from a surgery, be aware of the wound! Do not participate in rigorous activity or do core muscle exercises until your doctor clears you for activity. Steer clear of lifting anything heavier than your baby. You may want to refrain from having sex, taking baths, or using tampons until you have your doctor’s okay.
This may seem quite limiting but I promise you Mama, this moment is only temporary, and your main focus should be to rest and heal. The last thing I want to recommend is please do not be afraid to ask for help. Taking care of yourself after having a c-section is just as important as taking care of your newborn. Allow yourself to take it easy. Rest whenever possible and call your doctor if you have concerns about your health.
Do You Have Questions or Concerns?
I have compiled a list of questions you may still be curious about. Undergoing this procedure can be scary and being well informed can ease those nerves! I want you to be prepared and excited to meet your baby. Although this is a surgery, don’t forget this is also a new beginning!
What is recovering from a c-section like?
After delivering your baby by C-section, your doctor will tell you how to care for your incision. Thus, you will want to keep the area dry and clean. Use warm, soapy water to wash your incision daily (this can be done when you shower). If your doctor used tape strips on your incision, let them fall off on their own. This usually takes about a week.
When should I stop eating before a c-section?
Remember, you do not want to eat any solid foods within 8 hours of your arrival time and you may have only clear fluids up until 2 hours before your scheduled cesarean.
How should I sleep after C-section?
You should get as much rest as possible, especially in the first few weeks after a C- section. Considering that the surgery involves an incision over the abdomen, it can be hard to find a comfortable position that doesn’t place unnecessary pressure on your healing wound.
Likewise, it’s not uncommon to feel discomfort at the incision site for a while, which can make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. With that in mind, you might want to consider a few different sleeping positions that will help reduce pressure on your incision and make it easier to fall asleep. Such as on your back or your side.
What should I eat after delivery?
Taking care of your body after surgery means getting the right nutrition. You will want to drink enough water and other fluids. Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Take a fiber supplement daily. This can help avoid constipation. I know you want your body back ASAP, but Mama, please refrain from any crash diets. Ask your doctor when you
can start trying to lose the baby weight.
Whether you are undergoing a planned or emergency c-section, taking care of yourself after having a c- section is just as important as taking care of your newborn. Allow yourself to take it easy. Rest whenever possible and call your doctor if you have concerns about your health. And most importantly, remember YOU GOT THIS!