Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Food for Labor

Some homemade hummus I made a while ago

I joked with Matt, my marathon-running husband, that the only marathon I'll ever run is giving birth to our children.

As I prepare for The Big Day (or The Big Two Days or The Big Three Days!), I'm trying to figure out what kind of food I'll want to consume during labor to keep my energy up. My midwife has recommended that I eat at least every four hours and consume at least 8 ounces of water or red raspberry tea every hour.

I've heard that my appetite will start to disappear as I get deeper and deeper into labor, so I'm trying to pick things that will be as appealing as possible. (However, I've also heard that things that are normally appealing might not be appealing...)

Here's what I'm thinking so far:
  1. A banana peanut butter smoothie or a chocolate almond smoothie
  2. Pita chips and hummus
  3. Simple quesadillas (mozzarella cheese microwaved in a tortilla)
  4. Cereal
  5. Dried fruit
  6. Bolthouse juices
  7. My favorite Jamba Juice smoothies with added protein (my doula recommended freezing them and bringing them out when I least want to eat)
  8. Protein bars (I've only been able to eat sugar-free ones throughout the pregnancy; I'm looking forward to a little sugar during the birth!)
  9. Pretzels with peanut butter inside

We also want to have snacks on hand for our birthing team (midwife, labor assistant, doula, and Matt). Our doula recommended that we pick up:
  • A veggie tray with dip
  • A bowl of fruit
  • A vegetarian sandwich tray
  • Tea

Any other ideas for good labor foods?

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Rosalie said...

I did find it hard to eat and should have drank and ate more. I was sick in labour too at transitioning. I definitely recommend the frozen smoothies, great idea and also just frozen ice chips easier than drinking water I found.

Carrie said...

Please give me a one-paragraph summary of why most hospitals don't allow you to eat or drink during labor. It has always been my understanding that it is due to the c section risk and having to be put under general anesthesia. Because you're planning to eat more than I eat in a day! I wanted to drink, but not to eat. Lots of people vomit during labor...

Anonymous said...

Some honey sticks! They come in flavors or plain honey and give a nice boost. Helped me a lot!

Christine Lindop said...

I wasn't that hungry during labour, but I was absooutely starving afterwards! In the middle of the night I ate all my husband's sandwiches and the fruit and nuts he'd brought with him. Could have eaten the whole lot again!

Anonymous said...

Please relax and enjoy the peace and quiet you have pre-baby.

You've probably already done enough planning and preparation for a dozen women's births. =p

You might not even have enough time to eat anything!

Schmei said...

Seconding the honey idea. Another woman whose blog I read doesn't really like honey, but after a fairly long labor, just before she began pushing, her midwife suggested she have a couple of spoons of honey - basically pure energy, right? She said it tasted wonderful, and it gave her some needed fuel.

Hummus is a great idea!

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Carrie: I've also heard that it's in case you need a c-section. I've heard there's a very small risk that you will vomit when you go under, and there's a small risk that you will choke on your vomit. Hence, many hospitals implement a no eating and drinking policy.

P.S. I'm not planning on eating all of it. I'm just trying to give myself options in case much of it doesn't appeal to me.

Carrie said...

@Sara: it's also a small risk that you'll even need to go under if you need a c section. That would be a very serious emergency.

redfrizzz said...

I third the honey: get some honey sticks, they work out really well. Also, pasta! I recommend simple foods like fruit, veggies, pasta, things that aren't complex. You may have no appetite or a very particular one. Keep it simple. Though those shakes sound like a great idea!
Hospitals deter women from eating during labor due to the aformentioned risks. However, they also encourage women to have a saline lock/drip, which supplements eating by administering fluids and sugars directly to the blood stream...catch 22 of sorts...

Sherry said...

happy birthday tomorrow!!

Anonymous said...

My home birth went crazy fast (8 hours and 40 minutes from the first contraction to when I was holding my girl). I could not have imagined eating anything in that time. My midwife had me alternating between drinking water and Emergen-C. I did throw up during transition, but managed to stay hydrated with this combo.

You will do great! Just trust your body and your baby to work together.

Maureen said...

I don't really have anything to add, just that I'm SOOOOOO excited for you guys!! Sending you positve vibes for an awesome birth!

Lindel said...

The smoothies sound like a good idea. During my labour, I vomited everything I ate and then didn't feel like eating. I was in labour for days and only had about half a banana in that (which I threw up) but still managed to have a natural birth despite no energy inputs. It is amazing what the body can do. Drink plenty of water.

Heather said...

For my births, I ate some toast with peanut butter in early labor. But once things get going I don't want anything to do with food. I would say smoothies are probably a good bet (and you want things that won't be a problem coming back up in case you throw up at transition - happened with 2 of my 3 births). And once the baby is born you will probably want to eat everything in sight.

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