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Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  DAN Women & Babies Program  >  Pregnancy, Birth & Newborn Information  >  Mother and baby care  >  Caesarean sections  >  Your Guide to a Planned Caesarean Section

Your guide to a planned caesarean section

Please keep in mind that emergencies take priority over planned births. Every effort will be made to remain on schedule, but planned caesarean sections may be delayed if there are emergencies or if the birthing unit is very busy. 

Routine blood work

Routine blood work is required prior to your caesarean section. Your care provider will advise you when to visit the laboratory, which is located in M-Wing, ground floor room 202.

Laboratory hours of operation are

Monday – Thursday: 8:15 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The day of your surgery

Please use the chlorahexidine wash when having your shower the morning of your surgery. Ensure to thoroughly wash all over your abdomen. We advise that you do not wear make-up or nail polish so that we can better assess you during your caesarean section. Do not wear contact lenses or jewelry, including body piercings. Please inform us if you are unable to remove your piercings.

Pubic hair removal

Please do not shave or wax during your third trimester. This may increase your risk of infection.

What can I eat and drink before my surgery?

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

Please stop drinking two hours before your caesarean section.

Where do I go?

On the day of your surgery go to the triage unit with your hospital card. Triage is located on the 5th floor of M-Wing.

What will happen when I arrive at triage?

Your care providers will explain procedures as they happen. If you have any questions, please ask.

  • You will get changed into a hospital gown. Your nurse will take a medical history, listen to your baby’s heart rate, and check your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature.
  • An anesthetist, the physician who will administer your anesthesia during surgery, will come to speak with you about your medical history, the options for anesthesia (spinal, epidural or general anesthesia) as well as your postoperative pain relief plan.
  • An intravenous (IV) will be started.
  • Your nurse will take you to the operating room and help prepare you for your anesthetic.

After your caesarean section

You can expect your length of stay in hospital to be approximately 1-2 nights.

You will continue to have the intravenous for at least 18 hours after your caesarean section.

We encourage you to take your pain medication as directed. Pain relief will help in your recovery by allowing you to get up and move around more easily.

Getting out of bed and moving around will help you to feel better. We recommend that you sit at the side of your bed and dangle your legs with assistance from your nurse at approximately six hours after your surgery. Please let your nurse help you get out of bed the first time.

Supporting your incision with a pillow during activity may help reduce your pain.

Your abdominal dressing will be removed on the second day after your caesarean section, at which time you will be able to have a shower.

Gas movement can cause some discomfort. Try these methods to increase your comfort:

  • Walk in the hallways
  • When lying, change your position from side to side.
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Avoid carbonated (fizzy) drinks

The stitches used to close your incision are dissolvable and will not be removed before you are discharged home. You will be given a prescription for pain relievers and stool softeners to take at home when you need them.

What should I do if I go into labour?

If you go into labour before your planned caesarean section, go to triage in the birthing unit, M-Wing, 5th floor where you will be assessed. PLEASE DO NOT EAT OR DRINK UNTIL YOU ARE ASSESSED. If it is determined that you are in labour, you will have a caesarean section as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please ask any of your health-care providers.