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No water or ice for 12 hours before Cesarean?!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I guess that's routine, but isn't that sort of crazy when you're pregnant? I know in hospitals laboring women often aren't allowed water or ice.


I am scheduled for a cesarean birth tomorrow because my baby is breech (long story). It is scheduled for 1pm. The hospital did a pre-admission process over the phone this morning and told me not to have any food, water, candy, or ice from 12 midnight tonight until after the birth.


However, the midwife at my OB's office had told me no food from 6am tomorrow on. I can understand no food, and no water once they start the IV a couple of hours beforehand, but going 12 hours with no fluids at all sounds crazy to me. I've had issues with low amniotic fluid and dehydration during the last few weeks and unless I stay well-hydrated (including drinking water at night), I get EXTREMELY thirsty, my hands and feet swell up, and I get lots of contractions.


I guess they want to eliminate any risk of aspiration or something, but does it make sense to intentionally go into a surgical procedure all dehydrated? Could no water from 12 midnight to 11am the next day (when they hook up the IV) put stress on the baby?


Were you able to drink water a few hours before your C/S?



post #2 of 8

My situation was different than yours...I started labor and was moving towards a vaginal birth (or so I thought) when labor stalled and I ended up with interventions. After I agree to an epidural, the hospital no longer allowed me to drink fluids, though I was given ice chips. I remember feeling progressively more dehydrated, though I was sucking down the ice chips as fast as I could, and I was begging them to let me have a sip of water, and something with a little sugar, since I had been able to keep any food down for over 24 hours. I really felt that the dehydration and depletion contributed to the ineffectiveness of my 3 hours of pushing.


I don't know why hospitals are so adamant about restricting water/food prior to c-section. I hope that someone will be able to provide a good explanation!

post #3 of 8

I finished eating and drinking at 7pm and my c-section was at 1pm the next day.  The nurses and anesthesiologist were happy to hear that.


Physically my baby and I were fine.  I have lower blood pressure, it crashed during the spinal and they did have a harder time getting it up after the c-section but I don't know if that had anything to do with not eating or drinking.


I do know that I threw-up and felt sick with my first c-section but not with the one I fasted for.


Sorry my response was too late.


I hope everything went well and your little one is hear safely.

post #4 of 8
I felt SO sick from having to fast before my c-section. It was awful. The current studies suggest 4 hours for clear fluids, and I believe 6 hours for food. That's a lot more reasonable than 12 hours, especially while pregnant. Most hospitals haven't updated their protocol for liability reasons only.
post #5 of 8

I had an emergency c/s on a full stomach, including a cup of coffee.  It didn't seem to cause any problems.  I guess limiting intake prior to any surgery is standard, but a hungry and thirsty mommy sounds like a bad idea.  Having a c/s does take energy, after all!


I am fairly ignorant about this issue, so I hope some other folks write in.

post #6 of 8

It's a precaution against the possibility of needing general anesthesia, in which case aspiration is real threat. 12 hours npo is standard procedure for any surgery that involves a general. That being said, if you are given a spinal or epidural, having food or liquid in your stomach is probably fine. The chance of having to have general anesthesia (if the spinal fails or there is some other emergency) is very rare, but hospitals are required to be prepared for it.

post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by alittlesandy View Post

12 hours npo is standard procedure for any surgery that involves a general. 

Really? It's only 6 hours in Australia for elective surgery. And non-elective (but not life threatening) they will usually do after 4 hours.


OP, I would discuss your concerns with your surgeon and ask if you can continue to drink water until closer to the time. Some research suggests that water is probably ok up until a couple of hours before but, as I said, 4-6 hours is considered quite acceptable over here.


If they are adamant that you must fast for 12 hours then, given your history, I would ask about the possibility of an earlier admission for IV fluids while you fast.

post #8 of 8

I agree with talking to your doctor. I had an orange and some gatorade before my c-section and the doctor wasn't at all concerned. I think they want you to keep it to a minimum in case of an emergency (intubation), but most will allow a little cheating (some clear fluids, etc.)

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