Below are real life stories submitted by moms around the world for our recently published Signature Article – Evidence on: Eating and Drinking During Labor.
“My OB encouraged me to eat and drink at will during labor to help sustain energy. I chose foods that were hydrating and foods with protein and carbohydrates like fruit and nuts. I also opted for IV fluids just in case I got to the point of not wanting to eat and drink.”
“I had asked before time and I knew it was against hospital policy to eat during labor. But I knew from my experience with my first baby that labor was hard work and exhausting. So I packed high energy food that I could nibble a bite of if I felt like it. I had a vaginal birth with no medication, zero. I nibbled on a few energy bites during labor and I a, really glad I had them. It was hard work, I was exhausted and hungry. I only ate when I was feeling hungry between contractions. I didn’t feel nauseous at all like I had been told to expect. The hospital was going to insist that I have a heplock for IV fluids after the birth. But fortune smiled on me. My baby crowned very quickly before they had a chance to stick a needle in me, and the nurses all got very busy after my daughter’s delivery with other patients that no one got a chance to put an IV in. I made it out of the hospital with unbroken skin (well, above the uterus anyway, there was a small tear) no needle pokes!! I was double grateful that I had rebelled and snuck food into the hospital shortly after my daughter’s birth. Due to the previous business of the nurses I wasn’t moved to a postpartum room and offered food for around 5 hours after her birth. After labor and multiple nursing sessions I was starving. I choked down on those raspberries, that quick sugar was the best tasting thing in the world right then. I also ate everything else I had packed after I had devoured the fruit. Eating carefully planned food is what gave me the energy to deal with contractions unmedicated – I couldn’t deal with contraction pain and hunger pains at the same time, anything beyond the contractions would have pushed me over my limit- and the energy to keep pushing for over an hour through a chubby shoulder dystocia baby. I think eating after also helped me get my energy back so I could focus on nursing my baby without being too sleepy myself.”
“For my first baby, I spent early labor making a blueberry pie. By the time things got intense, the pie was in the oven and I was hungry, so I ate a large salami sandwich in between contractions. At the birth center I drank grapefruit juice on ice. My daughter got a bit stuck, so the midwife manually turned her head (In a hospital I would surely have had a C section.) Three pushes later, there she was. Easy peasy! Here she is, two hours old.”
“I had brought all of this food with me to the hospital and then kept telling everyone I wasn’t hungry. When I got to the 27 or 28 hour mark my doulas were basically like you have to eat something or you are going to have no energy when you push. They were almost like moms trying to get a toddler to finish a meal. Looking back I’m so glad they did that because my labor lasted another 8 hours.”