Eating During Labor? Moms Say Yes!

Mom Moment 23

mom and babyI don't care how some women try and sugarcoat it -- giving birth to a baby is hard work and requires a lot of energy, which is something I really didn't have much left of after laboring for nearly 24 hours with my son.

I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. And you know what else? I was hungry as hell. And that's probably why I found myself nodding my head in agreement when I read an article about eating during labor being a good thing over at BabyCenter Blog today.

The author of the post, Denise Cortes, talked about how by the time she delivered her son, she was craving a sandwich so bad she could hardly stand it. And I think she summed up just how badly women in labor could really use a little bit of extra nourishment by saying, "Birthing women cannot survive on ice chips alone."

(Amen, girl -- you're preachin' to the choir here.)

I can't remember exactly how far along I was in labor before my doctor finally decided I would probably be able to handle things a lot better if I had a snack. (God bless her.)

She wound up ordering me a bowl of chicken broth, and let me just tell you -- I'm not sure that anyone on the face of this earth ever enjoyed a serving of chicken broth more. It tasted like pure heaven -- and I swear the minute it went down my throat, I felt the life coming back into my body (or something equally as dramatic).

I'm serious, ladies, it was like the nectar of the gods -- and I'm not sure I would've made it through the rest of the huffing and puffing and pushing if I hadn't been allowed to eat something.

Bottom line, if you find yourself having visions of sinking your teeth into the most delicious slice of pizza you've ever tasted (or whatever) in the middle of labor, don't be afraid to speak up and ask for a snack. Believe me -- something as simple as a bowl of chicken broth just might be the difference between being coherent during your birth experience and having your head spinning in circles.

Have you worried about whether or not you'll be able to eat something while having your baby?


Image via Mary Fischer

labor & delivery


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amazz... amazzonia

I think USA is the only country in the world that doesn't allow a woman to drink or eat during just crazy to me...I remember my first birth I was so traumatized that I couldn't drink, my husband had to sneak in the bathroom to get me tap water, if I think about it I get thirsty! Is just being mean to a woman! Fortunately with my second one I researched a hospital that allowed food and drinks.

In Italy they tell you to bring parmesan cheese and chocolate in the laboring room, and the midwifes comes by and asks if she can make tea!

purvi... purvislets

I plan on eating before heading into the hospital.  My hospital does not allow eating during labor due to the possible risk if a c-section is needed so I don't think asking for a snack would even be worth my time.  But trust me, there will be some snacks packed in my hospital bag and I don't plan on asking permission to eat a little something if I get hungry.

jalaz77 jalaz77

You need energy and IV fluid alone will not cut it, if you are required to have an IV. It will help with nauaea as well. I got to drink and have a Popsicle and a piece of toast. That was not enough. At least I got that. I will labor as long as possible at home and eat. They don't like eating for fear of aspiration if general anesthesia is needed which is not common (gen anesthesia). Aspiration pneumonia is very serious but can be prevented with good anesthesia. I have seen vomiting during anesthesia, not pretty. Food gives you energy. It's asinine how they are holding good for 'just in case'.

Tracys2 Tracys2

I ate before I went, with my first! My labors were only 2-4 hours long, but I still complained during my last and shortest, because there was bacon going down the hall. They were sweet though and brought me lunch when I was done.

Some women do throw up (I know one) and I get what they say about emergency C-sections, but honestly... if I had labors longer than 4 hours, I would have eaten something too!

Jennifer Hermann

I think if you want to eat (unless it really is risky) you should be able to. I myself never even thought about eating and also would never want to risk going to the bathroom on the bed, EVER. But I had short labors, both under 6 hours, and vomited all through the first one. It should be what makes the mom comfortable.

amazz... amazzonia

I was one throwing up all labor and I didn't have IV so even more I needed juice and honey! C section they do epidurals now, not general anesthesia! SO it doesn't make any any sense not allowing a woman to eat!


I wasn't worried about eating. But the dr broke my water at 7am and I had dd at 1pm so it wasn't too bad. They did offer me juice but that just made me feel sick. I was fine with my ice water.

BeckyP. BeckyP.

I was in labor for 30 hours with my son (3.5 pushing) and was allowed to snack on crackers and ginger ale the entire time. I had an epidural which causes nausea and vomiting for a lot of woman and I never had any. I'm pretty sure its because I was allowed to eat something throughout my labor.

Blues... Blueshark77

Already planning on having snacks and water in my bag to bring with me. Like amazzonia said in case of a c-section they use saddle blocks, not general anesthesia. I don't know if I'll be in the mood to eat during labor or not, but I am a water junkie and my mouth has been extra dry during pregnancy and ice chips won't cut it. 


SuzyB... SuzyBarno

I think the thing is that every woman and labor is different. With my first they allowed me soft/liquid foods(chicken broth, jello, juice, etc.) and I had an emergency c section, with only an epidural and threw up all over the place! Threw up after the section too. With my 2nd, I attempted a VBAC and went into labor at 4 am, I had an emergency c section almost the minute I arrived at the hospital so there was no time to eat and I still threw up. I was heavily sedated with the 2nd c section because my baby was in such distress they had to get him out quickly. And even though I never ate the 2nd time, I still threw up after the c section several times! Just depends. But I do believe that if you are Laboring you should be allowed soft/liquid foods.

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