Boosting Nutrition in Labor
As a doula and a certified health coach, I often compare labor to a marathon. And like a marathon, preparation can make all the difference. During labor moms exert a ton of energy and engage lots of muscles.
So, How can you fuel up?
At home and in the weeks prior to your expected due date your diet should be similar to what you have focused on during your pregnancy; meals and snacks packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, & whole foods (these provide the most nutritional value). These along with any provider's recommendations will help assure that you nourish both your body and that of your baby.
When labor starts you will need to stay hydrated so grab your biggest cup/water bottle and drink up!
If labor begins at home or at work...take time to fuel yourself for the labor ahead. A couple of eggs scrambled with veggies, potatoes & turkey sausage is a great meal any time of day.
As labor progresses you may not feel like eating much, but grazing on things like; Greek yogurt w/ blueberries & chopped almonds, smoothies*, apples with nut butters, or Labor Balls* are great choices. Nutritious snacks can ensure that you have the strength and stamina when you need it most.
Here's an all time favorite energy snack to make for pregnancy and labor:
Because many hospitals have a clear liquids only policy (meaning you can't eat or drink any solids during labor), you definitely want to eat before you arrive, even if you don't feel like it (ask your provider).
I've even seen moms order take-out on their way to the hospital and eat it in the parking lot.
Once you get settled in your room, nurses may offer you water/ice, popsicles, juices, etc. If you are allowed to have liquids such as smoothies, these can be gradually sipped through a straw throughout labor help to stabilize blood sugar.
Another supportive fuel can be honey sticks. If allowed, these are great to fuel mama's at the end of labor when they need an energy boost. Water is the most important fuel you will need because your body will be losing lots of fluids during birth and replacing them will be key.
Here's a powerful smoothie recipe you can use throughout pregnancy and labor.
Other snacks to consider packing for the hospital (for labor support too!) are:
- Cliff bars
- Protein smoothies
- Coconut water
- Chicken broth
- Trail mix
Remember to ask for your provider's permission before consuming solids during labor.