Eating in labor: what is allowed and what is not

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Eating in labor: what is allowed and what is not

Here we are: the waters have ruptured or regular contractions have begun, your labor is in progress. But you have so many questions, even if you thought you were ready, right? One of these concerns what to eat in labor. Are you sure you know everything?

In this article

  • How labor works
  • Will you no longer eat in labor?
  • What to eat in labor
  • Drinking in labor: yes or no
  • Foods that induce labor

How labor works

Labor can begin in many different ways: sometimes it sets off on its own, through the rupture of the amniotic sac or starting the painful and close contractions, other times it comes induced for medical reasons or in cases where the gestation has arrived beyond 41 weeks. Whether spontaneous or induced, however, labor is a particular moment, very tiring for the woman, which requires a considerable expenditure of energy. In some cases, labor can last for many hours, even beyond a day: it serves not only to get to the right expansion, but also to make sure that the child gets off and gets in the right position to get out. Use epidural today it helps pregnant women to better endure labor, but do not underestimate the effort that the body makes to bring a baby into the world!

Read also: The types of contractions

Will you no longer eat in labor?

For a long time it was thought that it was better fasting during labor so as not to get heavy and above all to avoid episodes of vomiting, recurring in the last hours of pregnancy. However, studies have shown that this practice is incorrect and, in some cases, harmful: not only because it takes away the strength of the future mother, but also because it would expose her more to the risk of Mendelson's syndromepneumonia caused by the aspiration of gastric juices which occurs during general anesthesia (less and less used, however, during births). 

For this reason it is preferable to listen to your body and not impose the fasting for fear of making things worse. Eating in labor it's possible!

Read also: How to make labor less painful

What to eat in labor

Generally speaking, a well-fed body works best, and this also applies to women in labor, which they need sugar to collect energy necessary to give birth. For this reason, if you are hungry or feel the need to ingest something, the advice is to consume small portions of food often, rather than having actual meals, whether you are at home or in the hospital. 

Among the recommended foods there are obviously i carbohydrates: no pasta with sauce, but rather rice, soups, salads, cereals and in general unrefined flours. You can get sugars from fruits, such as pears, apples, bananas, but white meats and cooked vegetables are also fine. Instead, avoid red meats, packaged snacks like chips (good instead Fingers e cracker) and processed foods that could result difficult to digest and make things worse. Perfect the chocolate, especially dark, because it has benefits not only on energy, but also on mood and about functions cardiovascular.

Drinking in labor: yes or no

Together with the question about food, the question about drinking is asked by many future mothers who will have to face labor: can drinking fluids during labor? Absolutely yes! Indeed, it is advisable to do so because you stay well hydrate promotes the work of the muscles. The advice, also in this case, is to sip fresh water and, if by chance you feel very nauseous or vomit, suck on some ice cubes. In this case, gods might also help icicles, perhaps homemade with fresh fruit! Also fruit juices are allowed, but choose them without added sugar. 

Read also: Influence of the body on childbirth and labor

Foods that induce labor

Established that can be eating and drinking in labor, you are wondering, come to an end, if there are any foods that promote childbirth. Some customs like hiring castor oil or eating spicy foods are now out of date and have shown no basis. Indeed, in the case of castor oil be careful: it causes Diarrhea, not always positive for the woman in childbirth. 

However, there are foods that can help promote labor: taking fiber acts against constipation and, thanks to the work of the intestine, also prepares the uterus; same use for garlic, while the licorice acts on estrogen, but be careful if you suffer from high blood pressure. Pineapple, on the other hand, contains bromelina, a substance that has among its many properties also that of relaxing the muscles and stimulating their contraction. 

Labor is a time that scares many women and the questions are many. Remember that, in addition to following the instructions of the doctors, the best advice is to listen to your body to understand if it is right to eat and drink when you are about to give birth.


No risk or benefit of eating during labor

Effect of food intake during labour on obstetric outcome: randomised controlled trial

  • labor
  • labor advice
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