This study will demonstrate whether an electric warming mattress can reduce the number of
patients who get cold and shiver after elective cesarean section.
Peri-operative hypothermia (body temperature below 36 ºC) is a cause of post-operative
complications and patient discomfort. Immediately post-operatively such discomfort is due to
increased pain and shivering. Patients say that their time in the recovery ward is very
stressful and this is prolonged if they become cold (hypothermic)or shiver. Subsequently,
patients can suffer with increased risk of infections and delayed discharge from hospital.
For patients (and their babies) having Cesarean sections it is important to start breast
feeding as soon as possible, but being cold may delay this.
For some types of surgery measures are put in place to stop patients becoming cold and
thereby reduce the number of problems. However this is not the case with patients undergoing
Cesarean sections because the special blankets through which hot air is blown to keep them
warm are inappropriate for mothers giving birth by Cesarean section as it would make it
difficult for a mother to have good skin-to-skin contact with her new baby immediately after
delivery - an important part in the bonding process.
A solution is to use a new warming mattress. This has been shown to be safe and effective
with some types of surgery, but has not been tested in Cesarean sections.
In the investigators study,the investigators will warm a group of patients undergoing planned
Cesarean section and compare them to an unwarmed group to see if there is any difference
primarily in post-operative temperature. Secondarily, the investigators will also look for
differences in total blood loss, incidence of blood transfusion, wound infection, shivering,
the immediate health of the baby, time taken to become fit for discharge from recovery,
length of hospital stay and time to breast-feeding.