OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether early oral intake after cesarean delivery has an effect on gastrointestinal outcomes during postpartum recovery. DATA SOURCES: Electronic searches of published studies between 1980 and 2011 were conducted using PubMed, Medline, CINAHL, ClinicalTrials.gov, and Airiti databases. METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and nonrandomized trials were included. Data were extracted in a systematic manner and the quality of each study was appraised independently by two reviewers. Meta-analyses were conducted only for RCTs using the RevMan5. TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS: Seventeen studies met eligible criteria and were retrieved, including 14 RCTs and three non-RCTs. The majority of early oral intake was provided within 6-8 hours after cesarean delivery. Early oral intake was significantly related to the return of gastrointestinal functions compared with delayed oral intake (bowel sounds -9.2 hours; passage of flatus -10 hours; bowel evacuation -14.6 hours). Early oral intake did not significantly increase the occurrence of gastrointestinal complications compared with delayed oral intake after cesarean delivery (ileus symptoms 18.7% compared with 18%, odds ratio [OR] 0.98; vomiting 5% compared with 5.5%, OR 0.9; nausea 10.3% compared with 10.3%, OR 1.03; abdominal distention 9.3% compared with 11.6%, OR 0.82; diarrhea 3.4% compared with 5%, OR 0.62). CONCLUSION: Early oral intake after cesarean delivery improves the return of gastrointestinal function and does not increase the occurrence of gastrointestinal complications. A clinical implication based on the findings of the current evidence is proposed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology