Motherhood

Meals before and after a caesarean section in Japan

Are you planning to have a caesarean surgery in Japan? Or did you just have an emergency surgery in Japan? You must be wondering what kind of food you will be getting after the surgery. In this post will share photos and menu if the meal with you.

I have experienced two C-section surgeries in Japan. The first one was an emergency, and the second one was planned. I remember meals were the same both times. Please note that I gave birth at a university hospital both times. Meals at private clinics may be a lot more fancy.

*This post is based on my experience with my second C-section. Didn’t have room in my mind to take photos during the first one 🙂

Meals before C-section surgery

At the university hospital that I stayed, for planned C-sections, it was mandatory to stay at the hospital from the day before the operation. So, the first meal I had at the hospital was the lunch before the day of the scheduled C-section.

Meal 1 day before surgery

Lunch

  • Seasoned vegetable
  • Japanese-style rolled omelette
  • Rice
  • Soup
  • Milk
  • Nutrient enriched food(carbohydrate cracker, egg cracker, salmon furikake*)

*Furikake (ふりかけ)is tasty seasoning sprinkled on rice.

The meal is made especially nutritious for pregnant woman! The amount is not a lot, but I had to stay in bed most of the time so I wasn’t that hungry anyway. The carbohydrate cracker (called ゆめせんべい yume senbei) and egg cracker (called たまごせんべい tamago senbei) were so tasty that in fact I ordered it online for myself later! They were really good. Subtle sweet flavor, and very healthy! They are perfect snacks for post-birth moms.

At this time, I was still allowed to eat anything so I also ate food and snacks that I brought from home. I brought a lot!! 🙂

Dinner

  • Potato salad
  • Beef stew
  • Fruits
  • Rice
  • Nutrient enriched food(Drinkable yogurt)
  • Amino-Value*

*Amino-Value is an isotonic drink with amino acids

Tasty and healthy. But it is only about 2/3 amount of what I usually eat at home, so it is not really enough.

This was the last meal before the surgery. Absolutely no food was allowed after this. They were very strict on this rule, because the C-section surgery uses anesthesia. If there is food component in the stomach, food could flow backward and go into the lung, which can cause suffocation. So, if the nurse tells you not to eat, DON’T EAT!!

Only this Amino-Value drink (500 mL) was allowed until midnight. Only this drink. No water, no tea. Just Amino-Value.

Meal on the day of Ce-section surgery

Breakfast

No breakfast! I hadn’t had anything from the last night’s dinner. I was so thirsty because I hadn’t had any drink from midnight. And I stayed at a shared room with 5 other expecting woman, and everyone else was eating! It smelled so nice.

And, at 10:00 am, I moved to the surgery room and had my baby! 🙂

Meals after the C-section surgery

Meals on the day of operation

Lunch

So I just had my surgery. Of course, I cannot eat anything yet. No drinking either. But my anesthesia was still effective and I still felt high from everything that happened, so I wasn’t really hungry yet.

Also, I couldn’t move a single bit from the bed so I didn’t feel like eating  anyway.

Dinner

Still no food!! The anesthesia started to become ineffective, and my surgery wound started to hurt…. like really, reeeeeeally hurt. It hurt so much that I didn’t know whether I was hungry or not. I was more thirsty than hungry. This was definitely the most thirsty moment of my life.

Finally after a while, I was allowed to have “ice”.

ICE?!?!  At first I couldn’t understand what the nurse was saying. According to the nurse, if I had water at that moment, I would drink so much at once that it will shock the long-time emptied stomach. Instead, if I have ice, it will melt slowly in my mouth and I can drink water little by little.

Yes, it was pretty sad. I was insanely thirsty and all I could have was ice…But!!!! To my surprise, ice after almost 24 hours of nothing, was great!!! This might sound like over exaggeration but this was the best ice I had in my life. I’m being honest.

Meals 1 day after C-section surgery

Breakfast

What… I’m still not allowed? It had been 20 hours since the operation, but I was still not allowed to eat. It was very sad and I just wanted to eat anything as soon as possible.

So I just kept on drinking a lot of tea instead. There was no limit on drinking at this point. (By the way, I had a catheter (drain) in the bladder at this time, so I didn’t have to go to the bathroom!)

Lunch

Yeah!!! Finally!!!  Food!!!! Meal!!!

I was soooo happy at this moment. Food means life. Life means food. I really felt the need to eat for a mentally healthy life. This was almost 30 hours after the operation.

Because the stomach had been empty for such a long time, the meal was liquid food. Just like baby food.

  • cooked vegetable (puree)
  • Hayashi-rice (puree)
  • Okayu (rice porridge)
  • Milk
  • Nutrient enriched food(vitamin mineral juice)

*Hayashi-rice (ハヤシライス)is hashed beef, like stew, usually poured over rice

The taste of all the food was not bad. They were just like ordinary meals, but uninteresting because they were all just like liquid.

Even rice porridge was like this. Mostly just liquid! Only just some bit of soft rice sunk at the bottom. But I ate everything. I was happy to have any food. Maybe I’m just imagining this, but I felt like my jaw muscles weakened in the two days.

Dinner

Yeah! Solid food at last! I was so grateful for a normal meal. Chewing is very important. Taste is very important.

  • Seasoned eggplant
  • Fish with vegetables
  • Miso soup
  • Okayu
  • Nutrient enriched food(Drinkable yogurt)

The rice was still in porridge form, but the side dishes were all normal solid food. The rice porridge had greater ratio of rice.

Just for your information, okayu does not have any taste.

Meals 2 days after C-section surgery

Breakfast

Still rice porridge! But this time, it came with Yuzu-miso (miso with citrus taste)! Something with a strong taste at last! Rice porridge was much thicker now. The total amount of food was still less than a normal adult.

  • Cooked vegetable
  • Miso soup
  • Orange
  • Milk
  • Okayu (with Yuzu-miso)

Lunch

Yeah!! Finally!! Done with rice porridge!! Normal rice! All the side dishes became normal taste with normal amount. And I got my favorite Tamago-senbei (egg cracker) too! The nurse also told be that I am allowed to eat anything now, including food brought from outside. Yay!

  • Seasoned mushroom with egg
  • Seasoned salmon
  • Daikon soup
  • Milk
  • Rice
  • Nutrient enriched food (Energy suppliment jelly, Egg crackers)

Dinner

Oops I forgot to take a photo from dinner…But I remember is was just like an ordinary meal!

Meals 3 days after C-section surgery

Breakfast

Again, just an ordinary meal! According to the menu sheet, it was especially nutritious for after-birth moms… But to be honest, it was just not enough.

  • Bread
  • Egg with vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Banana
  • Milk

Lunch

Oops for got to take a photo again… But again it was an ordinary meal with rice and side dish!

Dinner

And guess what I’ve got here! It is a special dinner menu called Oiwai-zen (御祝い膳)which means a celebration meal. Every mom staying at this hospital have this meal once. It made me feel so special.

  • Salted fish
  • Tempura
  • Japanese style eel and burdock wrap
  • Pickles
  • Soup
  • Red rice*

*Red rice (お赤飯、oseki-han)are special rice eaten during festivals and celebrations

It also came with a message card saying congratulations! How nice!

My impression

Not being able to eat after the caesarean surgery was a very tough experience for me. But, because it was so tough, all the food that I had at the hospital felt like they were best in the world! I learned the importance of eating a balanced meal and appreciated being able to eat normal food.

I used to think pregnant woman should be eating a lot, but was surprised to see how limited the amount was at the university hospital. They must have provided the best balance of nutrition and amount for me, but they were certainly not enough. I guess eating healthy is much more important that eating a lot.

 

Please be informed that the meals I introduced above was my experience at the university hospital in Japan, where everything is strict. I have heard that private clinics offer much more fancy and delicious meals, and in some places you are allowed to eat anything right after the surgery. The priority at a university hospital is safety and health, so that is understandable. If you are interested in what your clinic offers, check their website or google it for blogs!

Some useful searching phrases are:

“○○○ 帝王切開 食事” (hospital name, C-section, meal)

“○○○ 産後 食事” (hospital name, after-birth, meal)

“○○○ 入院 食事” (hospital name, hospital stay, meal)

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