This study used ultrasound imaging to compare stomach contents and gastric emptying of women in the postpartum period with those of nonpregnant women. In the first part of the study, the presence or absence of solid food particles was compared between patients presenting for postpartum tubal ligation (n = 28) and those presenting for gynecological surgery (n = 24). In the second part of the study, gastric emptying of solid food in a group of women in the postpartum period (n = 20) was compared with that of a group of nonpregnant volunteers (n = 21). After a standardized meal, the subjects were not allowed any food for 4 h, and the stomach contents were examined by ultrasound. Results of the first part of the study showed that 11 of the 28 patients presenting for postpartum tubal ligation compared with none of the gynecologic patients had solid food particles in the stomach prior to surgery. In the second part of the study, 19 of 20 women in the postpartum group still had food particles in the stomach 4 h after the meal as compared with only 4 of 21 in the non-pregnant group. Both differences were statistically significant. Our results indicate that gastric contents of women in the postpartum period may include food particles and that there is delayed gastric emptying of solid food in the postpartum period.