Labor is an athletic event. You will need to think ahead about what food appeals to you. Even though you are not ill, think about the kinds of foods you eat after you’ve been sick. You usually eat things that are light and easily digested.
See the lists of suggested foods, below. But remember, you can also eat whatever appeals to you.
Drink During Labor: Recipe For The Best “Cocktail” For A Laboring Mother
See Related Content: 9 Reasons You SHOULD Eat and Drink During Labor
This drink will not only keep you well hydrated, it will also give you sustained energy. Mix the following ingredients in a large container for a tasty electrolyte drink for labor. Double or triple the amounts for a first labor, or make extra for ice. The average first labor is about 16 hours. Make this recipe before labor begins so you can make any changes and make sure it tastes good to you. You can also put it in some ice cube trays so you have the option to suck on the ice or make ice chips during labor, especially if it becomes difficult to drink a lot. The electrolytes and other ingredients will help your body stay balanced and help keep up your energy. See below for ideas for things to eat during labor. This is definitely something you can drink in labor if you’ve been told not to drink anything.
½ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Raw honey or to taste, preferably locally harvested honey
5 Cups filtered water, bottled water, Smart Water, or coconut water
The laboring mother should drink 8 oz every hour and should also urinate once every hour.
Suggested food for labor:
- Scrambled Eggs
- Toast and Honey
- Crackers and Hummus
- Miso Soup (or other broths)
- Whey Protein Drink
- Fresh Juice Prepared in a blender or Vitamix (No Citrus-too acidic)
- Apple Sauce
- Canned Peaches (low sugar not in syrup)
- Granola Bars
Many doctors and hospitals are still telling laboring women that they cannot eat or drink during labor. The medical research does not support this for low-risk healthy women. And the American Society of Anesthesiologists and ACOG both have statements that no eating or drinking during labor is not necessary for low-risk, healthy women.
What if I’m Getting an Induction?
Think of preparing for an induction just like you would prepare for a marathon. Sports research shows that carbohydrate loading the day before a race gives an athlete more sustained energy. Inductions tend to take longer, especially if it’s your first labor. So you will need to have plenty of energy stored up for that long labor. If you have gestational diabetes, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a well-balanced eating plan that supports the pregnant woman and promotes blood sugar control. Eat a combination of complex carbs and proteins to load up on energy.
Related Content: Understanding Labor Induction – How to Know if You Really Need It.
If you don’t have blood sugar issues or diabetes, then go ahead and load up on carbohydrates the day or two before the induction. Try choosing both simple and complex carbohydrates.
Examples of Complex Carbohydrates to Eat:
- Whole grains
- brown rice are excellent sources of healthy complex carbs
- Sweet potatoes
What To Eat and Drink During Labor Induction
Make sure you make the drink recipe above and have a good supply of it in case your induction lasts a couple of days. But you can also eat easily digested foods, like eggs, broth, Miso soup, anything that gives you energy and is easy to digest. Discuss with your doctor if you can eat solid foods that are easier to digest.
Your digestive system slows way down during labor and some solid foods may not be okay to eat. So to maintain your blood sugar you can drink protein shakes. Make protein shakes at home and bring them to the hospital. Or buy some pre-made protein drinks. Test them out before labor begins and find one that you think is tasty. One of the top selling brands is Premiere Protein. OWYN is a vegan protein shake. If you sip on that throughout your induction of labor, it will help stabilize your blood sugar.
DON’T FORGET FOOD FOR THE BIRTH COACH!
He really needs to eat to keep up his energy. Birth coaches/support people, pack a cooler full of food just for you too. And remember to also pack a toothbrush, mouthwash, and breath mints. Or you can make sure you’ve got cash on hand so you can send a friend or family member to go buy you something to eat. Women are working really hard during labor and they have a cocktail of hormones to keep them going, help them relax, and birth that baby. Birth coaches tend to run on pure adrenaline and can run out of energy fast. Don’t crash and burn. Stay hydrated and fed so you can be her main support person.