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Feeding the athlete…

Labor is probably not the time you will be requesting a huge steak dinner, but it is a good idea to continue to nourish your body before you head in to the hospital.

 Not eating during labor may reduce your energy, increase your fatigue and decrease your ability to deal with stress during labor.

Also…just as important…is drinking water (or water mixed with juice) and remembering to pee every hour or so.

A while back, I was reading Midwifery Today and found a short article about “The Midwife’s Pitocin”.

 This particular midwife recommends that her clients make a bowl of oatmeal, honey and nuts during labor and graze on it when they desire. If you break down the ingredients, you will find the perfect balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and natural sugar. Imagine that you are about to run a marathon – you would surely fuel your body with healthy supportive food! I have been recommending this concoction to my doula clients. It seems to have given them some lasting stamina.

The oatmeal will probably not be welcome at the hospital, but you can try to get some in your body before you head in. If you are birthing at a birthing center or at home, you can continue to eat when you like.

 Some women are concerned that eating during labor will cause them to vomit. But according to the same study referenced earlier, “Vomiting was not more common among women allowed to eat light foods, 18% of whom vomited once and 17% of whom vomited more than once, compared with 17% and 17% of women in the water-only cohort.” In fact, vomiting is a sign of transition and can actually help push the baby deeper down into the birth canal.

Here is a list of “light eating” that may be appealing to the laboring mom.

** Please note you are more likely to have a desire for food in early labor. Don’t force yourself to eat anything you don’t want to.


Whole wheat toast







Mashed potatoes



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