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Preparing for your Cesarean Section

(C-section)

Whether you've scheduled a C-section, or you want to be prepared "just in case," at Lee Health we are here to help you prepare for childbirth.

For many expecting moms, labor and delivery can be the scary part of having a baby. Some babies need to be delivered via cesarean section (C-section).

Here are some topics that you may want to consider adding to your birth plan in relation to a C-section.

Virtual and In Person Classes Offered by Lee Health

This free one hour in-person or virtual class is taught by obstetric nurses at Lee Health and describes our Enhanced Recovery after Cesarean (ERAC) program. 

The class will prepare you for what to expect before, during, and after your cesarean. These classes are offered in person or virtually through WebEx

To register and view class dates click on In Person or Virtual. Or call 239-343-5271 between 9am and 2pm, Tuesday through Friday.

Enhanced Recovery After Cesarean (ERAC)

A program that helps you heal faster with fewer problems so you can go home sooner!

We know surgery can be overwhelming, and we’re here to help you through the experience with a recovery plan that’s tailored for you.

Our new ERAC program delivers thoughtful, patient-centered care before, during, and after your cesarean section.

Day Before Surgery

You may be scheduled for pre-procedure testing and lab work. Your provider or hospital staff will schedule an appointment time with you.

Night Before Surgery

Shower with the antiseptic antibacterial soap you received using our instructions.

Morning of Surgery

Remove nail polish, make-up, jewelry, and all body piercings. You can keep on artificial nails. Shower a second time with the antiseptic antibacterial soap. We will give you specific instructions on how to do this. Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.  Arrive at the hospital at least two hours before your scheduled surgery time or as directed by the hospital.

When You Arrive at the Hospital

A staff member will place an intravenous (IV) catheter into your arm for fluids. We may perform more lab work at this time. We may give you oral pain medication, such as acetaminophen, just before your surgery. This will help reduce any post-operative pain and reduce the need for narcotic/opioid pain medication.

An anesthesia provider will speak to you about your anesthesia options. If possible, we prefer to use regional anesthesia such as spinal injections because they can lessen the need for postoperative narcotics/opioid pain medication.

We will place antibiotics into your IV to minimize the risk of post-operative infection. We may also give you other medications to prepare you for your surgery. We will place compression stockings on your legs to minimize the risk of postoperative blood clots. 

Before Surgery – Be Informed and Get Healthy!

  • Your provider will explain your operation to you, so you’ll know exactly what to expect.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet high in complex carbohydrates/protein unless suggested otherwise.
  • Walk 30 minutes daily and avoid drinking alcohol, and smoking tobacco or vaping.

Diet Restrictions

The day before your surgery:

You may eat and drink anything (healthy choices are best).

The day of your surgery:

  • Up until 8 hours before surgery, eat as usual.
  • Up until 6 hours before surgery, you may eat a light meal or low-fat snack.
  • Until 2 hours before surgery
    • Drink lots of clear fluids such as water, juices (no pulp) like apple juice, gelatin, broths, coffee/tea, sports drinks, and popsicles.
    • DO NOT eat any solid food.
    • DO NOT drink or eat any milk or dairy products.
  • 2 hours before surgery, consume 20 ounces of a sports drink (sugar-free if you have diabetes).

You MUST complete this 2 hours before your surgery, then NO MORE LIQUIDS!

Items Day of Surgery Day 1 After Surgery Days 2 & 3 After Surgery
Breathing Exercises Use incentive spirometer (breathing machine) every 1-2 hours when awake 6-10 times per hour Use incentive spirometer (breathing machine) every 1-2 hours when awake 6-10 times per hour Use incentive spirometer (breathing machine) every 1-2 hours when awake 6-10 times per hour
Activities Walk from bed to chair or walk in the hallway within 6 hours. Wear compression stockings and pumps Out of bed for more than 8 hours per day Walk in hall 25 feet, 4 X per day Up in chair for all meals Wear compression hose and pumps- may stop when walking consistently (4X/day for 25 feet) May shower once dressing on incision is removed Out of bed for more than 8 hours per day Walk in hall 25 feet, 4 X per day Up in chair for all meals Wear compression hose and pumps- may stop when walking consistently (4X/day for 25 feet) May shower once dressing on the incision is removed
Pain control Apply ice to incision Wear an abdominal binder, especially when out of bed Massage, aromatherapy and/or music therapy (ask your nurse for more information) We will administer non-opioid pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) as scheduled, around the clock We will only use opioids (narcotics) when other medications don't help the pain Alternate heat and ice to incision Wear abdominal binder, especially when out of bed. Massage, aroma therapy, and/or music therapy (ask your nurse for more information) Non-opioid (non-narcotic) pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) will be given as scheduled, around the clock We will only use opioids (narcotics) when other medications don't help the pain Alternate heat and ice to the incision. Wear an abdominal binder, especially when out of bed Massage, aromatherapy and/or music therapy (ask your nurse for more information) Non-opioid (non-narcotic) pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) will be given as scheduled, around the clock. We will only use opioids (narcotics) when other medications don't help the pain
Nutrition Begin clear liquids within 2-4 hours. Then eat as tolerated Chewing gum - start 4 hours after surgery, 4X per day for 30 minutes Take one nutritional supplement in the evening Drink two protein drinks each day Eat as tolerated, focusing on adequate fluid intake Chewing gum - 4X per day for 30 minutes Two nutritional supplements each day Drink two protein drinks each day Eat as tolerated, focusing on adequate fluid intake Chew gum - 4X per day for 30 minutes Two nutritional supplements each day Drink two protein drinks each day
Tubes, lines & dressing We will remove your urinary catheter 6-12 hours after surgery (as long as your bleeding isn't excessive) IV fluids will be stopped once you can drink 20 ounces and no longer have nausea and vomiting IV fluids will be stopped once you can drink 20 ounces and no longer have nausea and vomiting Dressing on the incision will be removed No dressing on the incision
Bonding & breastfeeding Please place your infant skin-to-skin on your chest when you feel well enough. Continue to hold your baby skin-to-skin until they have breastfed for the first time Breastfeed often, whenever the baby shows signs or feeding cues Continue to offer skin-to-skin contact Keep your baby in your room with you (rooming-in) Breastfeed often, 8-12 times or more, every 24 hours, whenever the baby show signs of hunger Anticipate cluster feedings during baby's second night Continue to offer skin-to-skin contact Keep your baby in your room with you (rooming-in) Breastfeed often, 8-12 times or more, every 24 hours, whenever the baby show signs of hunger Continue to offer skin-to-skin contact Keep your baby in your room with you (rooming-in)
Discharge planning Review You & Your Baby book - ask questions! Review You & Your Baby book- ask questions! You can expect to go home on your 2nd day. If discharge is delayed, you'll go home on the 3rd day. The decision to be discharged with a prescription for oral opioids (narcotics) pain medication will be made on a caseby-case basis.