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Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Jun;87(6):1006-8.

Early oral feeding after cesarean delivery.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.



To assess the gastrointestinal function and patient acceptability of early initiation of oral feeding after cesarean delivery.


Two hundred twenty-one healthy women delivered by cesarean were assigned in an alternating manner to receive either a high-protein, low-residue pudding initiated within 6 hours of delivery and given every 6 hours thereafter (n = 108), or a standard postoperative diet, consisting of sips of water 12 hours after surgery and a liquid diet permitted only after bowel sounds returned and flatus passed (n = 113).


Compared with the control group, the early-feeding group had a shorter mean (+/- standard deviation) duration of intravenous fluid administration, 18.6 +/- 6.3 versus 30.5 +/- 8.1 hours (P < .001); more rapid return to regular oral diet, 26.8 +/- 6.3 versus 39.7 +/- 8.8 hours (P < .001); and a shorter time to first bowel movement, 30.0 +/- 10.0 versus 43.3 +/- 11.7 hours (P < .001). There was no significant increase in gastrointestinal morbidity: 17.4 versus 15.6%, respectively.


Early feeding after cesarean delivery was well tolerated and was associated with a more rapid return to a normal diet. This approach may facilitate early hospital discharge.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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