Do you eat while in labour?

Lunch I received during labour
Lunch I received during labour

There is a debate on Babycenter’s Facebook page this morning whether women should eat during labour.  I am quite surprised by the amount of women who said they got nothing to eat, even those who were labouring for more than 24 hours. However, I am even more surprised by the amount of women who think you shouldn’t eat anything, in case of complications and/or to prevent you feeling nauseous. I never thought about this.

My hospital provides food, if you are there during meal times.  I was for all three of my kids and for two of them I was feeling great so when the staff offered me food I accepted. For those two kids I was feeling great, because I wasn’t feeling my contractions; I went for a check up, only to be told that I was in active labour!   I only feel the contractions during transition, from about 7cm dilated, until delivery.  So I was able to eat comfortably.  On my 2nd child I particularly enjoyed the food.  Japanese hospital food is delicious.

Thanks to the debate on Babycenter I can see why in some cases it might not be a good idea to eat during labour. However, I will eat again on the next one, if I am there during a meal and the time allows. I think it is more important to keep your strength up, to help you (and the baby) on your way!

Now I am curious; did you eat while you were in labour?

Dinner I received during labour
Dinner I received during labour

0 thoughts on “Do you eat while in labour?”

  1. Those meals look delicious! I didn’t eat while in labor, but that was only because by the time meals started I was in such active painful labor that I couldn’t even think of anything but breathing. 🙂

    1. Absolutely, when the pain does come there is no way on earth I would want to eat anything. I barely remember to breathe!! I did vomit on my first, during transition, but I hadn’t eaten anything in about 8 hours so I don’t think it was related. I think it was body acting out against the pain! Suddenly feeling nervous about doing it again!! Yikes!

  2. Yes, I did. I gave birth in Japan. Could it be because there’s no epidural here; less likely food will disagree with you?

    1. Could very well be, couldn’t it? It might be that in other countries they withhold food as the Mother is more likely to feel nauseous with entonox or pethidine or epidural.

  3. Yes, I ate my breakfast at home…. Then my baby was born at lunch time, so the midwife (in hospital) brought me some food afterwards. I didn’t think about getting food in hospital, though, so I had sent my husband home to make some sandwiches!

    I was advised at ante-natal classes to eat during labour – stuff with a GI but easy to digest (eg pasta but not with cheese).

    1. That’s good to hear Helen, thanks for responding. And you are in the UK. So that disproves my comment to my friend who commented as “anonymous”. It is interesting that each care provider has a different spin on it. I’ve only ever heard really nice things about midwives in the UK; that yours brought you food afterwards just another positive reinforcement. 🙂

      1. Maternity services are trying their best to persuade women to give up the pain relief (I didn’t have any), not least because there are so many interventions, including C-sections, because of them. I don’t think that food would be affected by local anaesthetics, though (think dentist’s), so no idea what has prompted these discussions on Facebook.

        1. Gah, just wrote a long response and lost the window! Probably just as well as it was a crazy long and probably utterly boring response! In a nutshell; You have a very good point about food and anaesthetics. It is interesting how “we” perceive child birth and labour in different countries. Also, how in recent years a lot of our fears and assumptions have been controlled by obstetrics. Pre-obstetrics women just got on with it naturally, I have to remind myself of that for my upcoming labour. I am going to try zero pain relief again.

          1. Like everything, childbirth ideas go in fashions! Of course, in the past women died because there was a complication, so there is a good side to obstetrics, but doing things naturally is being pushed more and more, I think.

            What kind of pain relief is available in Japan?

          2. Honestly, if you go the “natural” route – nothing. In most hospitals they don’t have any sort of medicinal relief, its all about the breathing. I live in a prefecture of 6 million and only four hospitals offer the epidural. My hospital happens to be one of them. They don’t hard sell it though, actually quite the opposite; they try to talk patients out of it unless it is deemed necessary. On my first I thought I would have it, but thanks to the wonderful guidance of fabulous nurses and midwives I “survived” without it for the first three. However, it was deemed necessary for me the other day; a whole other post to come!!

  4. I didn’t even think of eating, the first time I was in such acute pain all the time (she was slightly in a wrong position and apparently my body was trying to fix it?!) and the second time was far too quick to have time to eat 🙂

    1. I can imagine the agony of the baby being in the wrong position, yikes. You had a quick labour too; they are tough aren’t they. If I had not been in the hospital for a check up to find out my body was in labour, I just didn’t know it yet, and/or if I had of waited to go to the hospital when I did feel something, I definitely wouldn’t have been eating either. 🙂

  5. Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying these posts~ I start my antenatal classes next week for my first pregnancy and reading your posts has made me a lot less nervous about the whole thing 🙂
    By the way, if you get a chance to click on my name you’ll be directed to a request for Japan-based bloggers to participate in my autumn blog carnival (the theme is “comfort”). I’d love to include one of your posts in the carnival, either a specially written post or perhaps the reflexology one from a little while ago?

    1. Thank you so much, it is always nice to get feedback. 🙂 Especially of the positive kind!

      I love your blog, how have I not known about it until now!! And I really love your autumn blog carnival idea. I am in! I am PMing you on FB. 🙂

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