Hi! Welcome to this article about what to do the night before a c-section. The day before surgery is not always easy. It’s normal for anxiety to brew and worry about what the coming days will be like to sift through your mind.
Hopefully you have a great medical team that you trust and love to take care of the actual surgery. But, there are things you can do the night before your surgery to feel more relaxed about the procedure and simplify your recovery when you get home.
In this article, you will learn how to prepare your mind, your body and your home before heading to the hospital. By taking care of these practical details, you can focus on staying calm and relaxed, and getting the rest you need before your big day.
What To Do To Prepare Your Mind The Night Before A C-Section
When moms are preparing for a vaginal birth, its common to practice relaxations techniques and breathing patterns. These help her regulate her nervous system and feel more at ease even when labor is unfamiliar or uncertain.
These same tools can be immensely helpful during a surgical birth as well.
It’s normal to feel woozy, disconnected and anxious during surgery. During surgery, you have strong emotions, intense physical and hormonal changes and medicine with various side effects all coursing through your body at the same time. And, though you won’t feel pain, you will feel pressure, tugging, and be in a very bright and bustling operating room. Most moms will be awake and alert during the surgery as well.
Deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness practices can help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. They can help you re-regulate and capture a bit of presence for the birth of your child.
Below is a simple hypnosis track to listen to the night before surgery to help you ease your fears and worries and find a place of calm.
What To Prep The Night Before Your C-section
There are a few simple tools you can use to invite the feeling, energy and celebration of birth into your surgery. Prep these things the night before your c-section.
1. Pack A Button Down Shirt For Your Partner
Once your surgery begins your baby will be born in about 15-20 minutes. The rest of the surgery is the repair. For most of this time, your baby will be with you. Many moms like their baby snuggled up on their chest so you can both have skin to skin time together.
Other times, baby is swaddled and your partner holds onto them. They can hold your baby check to check with you so you can feel them close.
Unfortunately, with the repair going on, skin to skin is still just not as cozy and warm as it will be in a few hours when you are able to be upright in bed.
Because of this, many PARTNERS do skin to skin with baby instead. Have them wear a button down shirt underneath the surgical jumpsuit. When baby is born, your partner can hold baby near you for a few minutes, then if baby gets fussy or you don’t like skin to skin while your surgery is finishing, they can snuggle up your little one and both can get those amazing benefits of skin to skin.
Skin to skin relaxes a newborn, helps them regulate their body temperature, heart rate and breathing and also helps them get ready to nurse. Not to mention it helps them decrease stress.
And don’t worry, in the years after your birth, your brain will be rewiring and building bonding connections. If you didn’t get the rush of energy and bond you wanted to at the moment of birth, you can build it over time. That’s what I did. This podcast is a great resource for repairing bonding.
2. Pick The Music You Want Your Baby To Be Born Too
Once your surgery begins your baby will be born in about 15-20 minutes. The rest of the surgery is the repair. You can usually bring your phone into the operating room with you. For most of this time, your baby will be with you. Either you or your partner can do skin to skin during this time too!
And, you can play music. If you have a favorite playlist or a song that helps you feel connected to your baby, bring it to the OR with you.
Did you know your baby can begin hearing your voice and the music you are playing at 27 weeks. Music can be very calming to a baby. Many times I have witnessed a fussy newborn baby be comforted and become incredibly peaceful when their parents sang them a song they sang throughout pregnancy.
Music gives us a beautiful way to connect to each other and helps overcome the unfamiliar stresses of being in the operating room itself.
It can also be a lovely addition in the first hours after birth when you are bonding, meeting, breastfeeding and taking a few moments to soak up your first impressions of each other.
What To Eat The Night Before A C-Section
The night before a c-section, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding eating and drinking. In most cases, you will be asked to avoid eating or drinking anything after a certain time, typically after midnight on the night before your surgery. This is because having food or drink in your stomach can increase the risk of complications during the surgery, such as aspiration.
Aspiration isn’t the only thing to think about when it comes to food before surgery either.
The first 24 hours after recovery, gas and indigestion can cause quite a bit of pain. So it’s important to choose easy to digest foods the night before your surgery.
But on the other hand, research shows that well nourished people recover better from surgeries. As you prep for surgery, pay extra attention to eating healthy the weeks before.
What To Eat For Dinner The Night Before Your Surgery
Because you enter a scheduled c-section fasting, you want to think about the last foods you eat before your fasting time begins.
The main things you want to plan for are easily digestible food + carbohydrates that will support your body in the time you are not eating.
Cooked food is more easy to digest than raw food. So, instead of a spinach salad, opt for something with sauteed spinach. So your body won’t have left over gas or indigestion.
When your body is fasting, it will rely on the glucose you have stored. So make sure to also eat cooked whole food carbs like rice or potatoes.
If I were to have a meal before my surgery, I would probably pick a potato and leek soup, a rice pudding, a mild thai soup, or something similar that is warm, cooked, carb heavy and whole food based.
What To Eat Before Your Fasting Time Begins
If you eat dinner before bed, but don’t have to start fasting until midnight or sometime later, it is smart to set an alarm and have a last snack.
This can be a bowl of oatmeal, a rice pudding, an a carb heavy drink like apple juice. Research shows that having a last carb heavy drink improves patient wellbeing.
Some other option could be:
- Clear liquids such as water, tea, or apple juice
- Light soups, such as broth or vegetable soup, without any solid ingredients
- Simple carbohydrates such as toast, crackers, or plain rice
- Fruits that are easy to digest, such as bananas or applesauce
It’s important to avoid heavy, greasy, or spicy foods, as these can cause discomfort in your recovery. Remember, though food is out of your stomach in 8 hours, it can take up to 36 hours to be fully digested. So what you eat the day before surgery matters.
What Not To Eat The Night Before A C-Section
Although it may be tempting to have a large celebratory meal as your last meal as a couple before bed the night before your c-section, think carefully about this.
After surgery, gas and constipation are much more likely. And, these are huge contributors to pain after surgery as well.
According to the International Foundation For GastroIntestinal Disorders, these foods are more likely to cause gas and may be things to avoid.
- Beans (Presoaking reduces the gas-producing potential of beans if you discard the soaking water and cook using fresh water)
- Vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, radishes, celery, carrots
- Fruits such as apples, peaches, raisins, bananas, apricots, prune juice, pears
- Whole grains and bran (Adding them slowly to your diet can help reduce gas forming potential)
- Carbonated drinks (Allowing carbonated drinks, which contain a great deal of gas, to stand open for several hours allows the carbonation/gas to escape)
- Milk and milk products, such as cheese and ice cream
- Packaged foods prepared with lactose, such as bread, cereal, and salad dressing
- Foods containing sorbitol, such as dietetic foods and sugar free candies and gums
- Beverages such as wine and dark beer
What To Do To Prep Your Bedroom For Rest And Baby Care After Birth
We have a complete list of items you want for a c-section recovery kit over here. But this will help you get some of your spaces sorted.
After your surgery, you will not want to get in and out of bed every time you have to get your baby. If possible, your partner should do most of the lifting of your baby and hand them to you. Because of that, you will want a little baby basket and a little baby bed that you can keep on the mattress with you during the day.
In the basket, place a change of clothes for baby, an extra swaddle blanket, a burp rag, a haaka or handheld breast pump, a water bottle or a few coconut waters for you, and a handful of quick snacks you enjoy such as protein bars, crackers, or other simple foods to snack on.
Though most moms will have their baby sleep in the bassinet by the bed when they are sleeping for a while, many moms like their baby safely on the bed in their own space next to them when they are up, but still in bed the first days home.
This is also an excellent time to stock up on skin to skin hours with your little one as well!
Should You Talk To A Therapist About Your Surgery?
Sometimes moms ask me if they should talk to a therapist about their surgery. For most moms, I believe that therapy should be standard care throughout the childbearing year. Birth is a beautiful thing. But, it is also an area where we don’t always have as much control as we want.
Not to mention that the moment your baby is born, your life changes for every. Babies can bring SO MUCH JOY. But, they also come with major shifts in responsibilities, relationships, and expectations.
Surgery adds another layer on top of that.
Sometimes mothers will voice to me that they feel like the didn’t really give birth or they feel robbed of their experience if they had surgery. You deserve time and space to work through these emotions as well as someone to hold your hand as you go through the many transitions of motherhood. A chat with a established therapist is a great way to spend an hour the day before your surgery.
If you don’t have a therapist yet, consider looking on My Wellbeing. They will match you with three therapists based on your needs and you can find the one that is the right fit for you.
What To Do The Night Before C Section Conclusion
Moms who give birth via surgery are brave, strong and loving mothers. Don’t ever let someone tell you surgery is the easy way out because it isn’t. Though there is always uncertainty and fear around upcoming surgery, I hope this article give you confidence in the process and useful tips to manage the process and get through it all with joy.