Patient Guide to the Operating Room

Preoperative Information for the Birthing Center

Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Birthing Center preoperative program services all patients needing anesthesia for their procedure or surgery.  This booklet is designed to familiarize you and your family with our program.  Enclosed is information that we hope you will find useful during your stay.  Please feel free to call the Birthing Center at 847-3830 and ask to speak to a nurse.

All of us at Fletcher Allen -- from the admitting clerk to the nurse who assists you with your discharge -- want to make your journey through this experience a smooth process.   We are pleased to answer any questions you may have and help you with any problems.


Preoperative Tests

Depending on your surgery, you may have blood work ordered.  If a blood sample is required, you may have it drawn at any Fletcher Allen outpatient lab, or here at the Medical Center Campus.  Your provider will give you an order slip for your lab work.  Bring this to the lab to get your blood drawn.  Lab work should be drawn not more than 3 days prior to surgery.

You may have your pre-operative lab work drawn at the following places:

Fletcher Allen Health Care
Medical Center Campus
111 Colchester Avenue
Burlington, Vermont

Monday-Friday 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Check in with a Registration clerk at the desk and they will direct you to the proper place.

Fletcher Allen Health Care
University Health Center Campus (UHC)
1 South Prospect Street
Burlington, Vermont

Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Check in at the Registration desk

Fletcher Allen Health Care
 Fanny Allen Campus
790 College Parkway
Colchester, Vermont

Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Saturday-Sunday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Check in at the Registration desk

24-Hour Preop

You can expect to receive a telephone call from our Registration Department the day before the procedure.  Pre-registration will speed your admission on the day of the procedure.  The registration representative will also have information regarding any co-pay or deductible fees due on admission.

Instructions for Fasting Before Procedure

It is very important that ALL surgical patients fast.  This means no eating or drinking after midnight the night before your surgery, but water is allowed up to four (4) hours before your surgery.  This includes no candy, gum, or coffee after midnight.

Following these instructions will help to prevent nausea, vomiting and aspiration (breathing in of stomach contents) during the surgery.  Your surgery may be cancelled or postponed if these guidelines are not followed.

Your doctor’s office will review any changes for your particular situation.  If you have any questions, please call your physician’s office.   

On the Day of Surgery

Your surgery has been scheduled in the Birthing Center on the Medical Center Campus.  Valet services are available for easy parking.  Valet parking is available at the main entrance Monday-Friday for $8.00 per car (Please, no tipping).  Cars may be dropped off for valet service between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Cars may be picked up until 9 p.m.  Parking is also available in the parking garage. You will be charged when you leave the garage.

The Parking Garage fee schedule is as follows:
First hour………..$1.25                   
3-4 hours……….$5.00
1-2 hours……….$2.50                   
4-5 hours……….$6.25
2-3 hours………..$3.75                   
5-24 hours……..$7.00

Please bring your health insurance information, your hospital card and payment for your co-pay or deductible charges due on admission.  After you register, you will be sent to the Birthing Center.


Your doctor’s office will inform you of the time to arrive at the Admitting Desk, and the exact time of the surgery.  You will, in general, be asked to arrive 2 hours prior to surgery if your pre-operative blood work was drawn; you will need to arrive 3 hours prior to the surgery if you have not had your blood work performed within 3 days.

All jewelry (especially body rings - tongue, nipple, belly button), makeup, nail polish, or toe polish and contact lenses should be removed before arrival.  Please do not use any alcohol-based products such as hair spray, mouse or gel.

Birthing Center Admissions

After registering in Admitting, you will be sent to the Birthing Center, where you will be prepared for surgery.  You will change into a hospital gown.  Your health status will be updated, an intravenous drip will be started and any blood work will be sent.  The admitting nurse will obtain a baseline evaluation of the baby using the fetal monitor before surgery.

You will meet one of the anesthesia staff who will be with you during your surgery.  She/he will ask you some questions and finalize your anesthesia plan of care.


If you are a smoker, we encourage you to stop smoking before your surgery.  This will help to keep your lungs clear and reduce the risk of developing congestion or pneumonia following surgery.  Fletcher Allen is a smoke-free environment.  No smoking is allowed in any hospital building or on the immediate hospital grounds.  Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.


All jewelry, even wedding bands, must be removed prior to surgery.  If you have a ring that you cannot remove, we encourage speaking with your provider.  If he/she says you do need to remove it, please see a jeweler who will take it off.  Please leave all valuables at home. 

 Family and Visitor Waiting Area There is limited space for family and friends to stay before the surgery; therefore, we ask that you adhere to our guidelines of no more than 2-3 people with you at one time.  

There are times when visitors may be asked to step out of the room while procedures are being done.  In general, one support person is allowed in the operating room if the procedure is a cesarean delivery; occasionally there are no visitors allowed, so please ask your physician and anesthesiologist.  During surgery, your family may wait in the family and visitor waiting area located next to the Birthing Center or in the Lobby next to the Coffee Shop.  In consideration of maintaining privacy for all our patients, your family and friends may not wait in the hallways.

Visitation after Surgery

While you are in the Birthing Center, visitation is limited.  Please refer to our Birthing Center visitation policy.  Your cooperation is appreciated in making arrangements for your children.  You can expect to stay in recovery for 1-2 hours after the surgery, or until your condition is stable.  During that time you may have one family member present (this is usually your husband or partner).  This individual can then report back to the rest of the family or visitors.  Speak with your nurse for any clarifications needed. 

Discharge Instructions

For outpatient procedures (planning to go home the same day):

Once your recovery is complete, and before you go home, a nurse will go over the written discharge instructions and give you a copy of them.  All patients must leave the hospital with a responsible adult after anesthesia or sedation.  Patients are not allowed to drive home after anesthesia or conscious sedation.  Public transportation home is acceptable if traveling with a responsible adult.

Someone should be available to stay with you for the first 24 hours after the procedure.  Remember - For the first 24 hours after receiving sedation or anesthesia, You should NOT make important decisions, drive, operate machinery, or drink alcohol.

For inpatient procedures (includes all deliveries):

After the delivery of your baby, you will be transferred to the Mother-Baby unit. A typical stay following cesarean delivery is 3-4 days.  Your discharge instructions will be tailored to your needs and those of your baby.

Pharmacy Services

If you have prescription needs when you leave the hospital, you may have them filled at the Health Center Pharmacy on the third floor of the ACC.  Please note that narcotic prescriptions for New York patients must be filled in Vermont.  The pharmacy hours are 7:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.  Outpatient prescriptions cannot be added to your hospital bill.  Cash, check, and credit cards and most prescription plans are accepted.

Patient Responsibilities

Follow the eating and drinking guidelines given to you.

Bring any paper work requested of you.

Shower or bathe the night before and again the day of surgery with an antibacterial soap (Dial).  Remove all makeup and nail polish.

Bring eyeglass case or contact lens case if you wear corrective lenses.

Please leave all valuables, money, and jewelry at home.  Remove rings (belly button, tongue, nipple and finger).

Follow the instructions you were given regarding your medications.  Bring inhalers, nebulizers, and insulin to the hospital.

Please arrive promptly at your scheduled time.  Being late can postpone or cancel the surgery.

If this is an outpatient surgery, arrange to have a responsible adult bring you home and stay with you overnight.

Notify your doctor if you become ill before the surgery, or develop a blemish, cut, rash, or abrasion on or around the operative area.

Bring your infant car seat and any packed essentials for you and your baby.

If, because of religious beliefs, you do not wish to receive blood or blood products during your surgery, please discuss this with your doctor and anesthesiologist before surgery.

Residents / Interns / Students

Fletcher Allen is a teaching hospital and it is likely you will have residents, medical students, and student nurses as a part of your health care team.  Your physician (or group) is fully responsible for and in charge of your care.  If you have any questions regarding the role of your physician as a teacher, please discuss this with them.   

Publication Date Ownership : Birthing Center Operations Committee, 3/2005 Updated:  9/30/05, 9/10/06