Eating and drinking in labour: is it possible?

Can I expect to eat and drink during labour?

If you are worried about being hungry or thirsty when in labour, do not worry it usually is safe to eat or drink in labour if you want to. Rather it is believed that a light snack or drink at the early stages can actually make you feel more comfortable and cope better with the labour. If you do not have enough eat or drink, the body begins to break down the fatty stores in the body for the energy required, this is called ketosis. In case of any prolonged physical activity where the body spends more energy than it takes in, the natural body response is ketosis. Ketosis though can give you a headache or even make you sick.

In labour, mild ketosis is considered normal. But hunger and getting tired during labour can further slow down labour.

What to eat during labour:

Remember to have a light snack rich in carbohydrates as they are easily digested and release energy slowly. Digestion in general is slowed down during labour. A few options you could eat during labour are – toast, sandwichs, yoghurts, biscuits, soups, etc.

Eat small portions as your stomach is not digesting at the usual pace, a large meal could only make you throw up.

Having liquids during labour:

If labour has made you lose your appetite do not worry, you will still want to have plenty to drink. Don’t worry about needing to use the washroom; it is perfectly safe and doable during labour.

Isotonic drinks are really good during labour as they are quickly absorbed and give the body the right kind of energy that it needs for labour.

Avoid fizzy drinks as they make you feel sick.

If you have an epidural or certain pain relief medication, you might be advised to stop eating (only a light snack if you really need it) and drink sips of water or isotonic drinks only. A C- Sec would mean you cannot eat anything.