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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1993 Jan;168(1 Pt 1):128-31.

The PROEF diet--a new postoperative regimen for oral early feeding.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo 43699-0008.



The purpose of this study was to determine if immediate postoperative feeding of a new oral elemental diet (PROEF diet) would be tolerated by patients and to determine its effect on gastrointestinal function after cesarean section.


One hundred eighteen patients undergoing cesarean section were randomly assigned by a computer-generated list of numbers to receive either the PROEF diet (60 patients) or routine postoperative dietary management (58 patients). Gastrointestinal morbidity was analyzed by an independent-samples t test.


The PROEF diet group has a more rapid return of normal bowel sounds, 10.3 versus 14.5 hours (p = 0.001), and earlier acceptance of a regular diet, 2.0 versus 2.3 days (p = 0.008).


The PROEF diet was well tolerated in cesarean section patients with no increase in gastrointestinal morbidity when compared with a control group of patients. This dispels the classic teaching that postoperative patients may not have oral intake until the return of normal bowel function. Further study is necessary to support the theoretic benefits that may accrue from early feeding of an elemental diet.

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