Since ages, doctors have advised women not to eat during labor. However, recent researches have revealed a startling fact – eating during labor is beneficial!
But the question is: What to drink or eat during labor?
Beneficial Foods During Labor
As you approach the last days of your pregnancy, you must switch to a high carb diet. Carbohydrates raise the level of glycogen, something that your body needs during this time. If you don’t take enough carbs, your body will convert the stored fat into glycogen. This process leads to the formation of a by-product known as ketones. This by-product slows down labor and causes fetal distress.
It’s ironical that doctors don’t permit eating carbs during early labor and then later they administer IV’s to prevent ketosis, which could have been prevented by a carb diet in the first place!
Now you realize how your pregnancy diet affects labor! Medical experts recommend eating cereal, breads, crackers, pasta, corn, rice, potatoes, and fresh fruits to build glycogen reserves. As you enter into early labor, you can safely have plenty of fruit juices, water, or sports drinks. They keep you hydrated during labor and substitute electrolytes effectively.
Foods To AVOID During Labor
Avoid orange juice, as it may lead to nasal vomiting. Also, avoid dairy products, fried and spicy foods, and foods with heavy protein content.
To Eat Or Not To Eat…
The reason behind stopping food and drink during labor is the risk of aspiration, in case the woman has been administered general anesthesia and she throws up. But, this risk is rare. Unless you take heavy foods, there’s no risk in taking simple carbs that are digested easily and provide energy bursts to cope with labor.
Moreover, researchers have questioned this reasoning because even if your stomach is empty, there are still gastric fluids present in it. Besides, anesthesiologists have the expertise to prevent aspiration of food or fluids.
Many women have reported to have felt hungry during labor. Most were of the view that had they been allowed to eat during labor, they wouldn’t have gotten sick while giving birth. Several hospitals feature nourishment rooms with freezers where you can store fresh fruit, juices, honey, and other simple carb “energy boosters.” You can have them in small amounts at regular intervals while you’re at the hospital waiting for your baby to arrive.
It has been found that women who ate during labor had more active labor than those who stopped all food and drink. If you’re feeling hungry, you must eat during labor. At a certain point, during labor, your body will automatically tell you to stop eating. You won’t feel like eating any more. Your digestive system will get sluggish. It’s more beneficial to listen and act according to your body than to the hospital rules!
So, if you’re in quandary whether to eat during labor or not, listen to your body. After all, it’s your body that has to work hard for delivering a baby. Give it the energy to endure labor and provide you a pleasant experience!