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eating during labour

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July 25th, 2006, 02:07 AM
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I know at hospitals they frown upon eating anything during labour. I recall hearing it was incase they had to put you under it can be dangerous if you have recently eaten?? I may be wrong though.

What do you all think about it? Did you eat during your labour? Did you find it helpful?

My induction took 27 hours and adding 5 hours to that since I had last eaten dinner would be the amount of time they told me I couldnt eat for! 32 hours not eating!!! Ya right!!! The doctor told me not to but I asked my nurse and she told me it was fine lol So I had pizza and french fries for lunch. Probably not the best choice but I wasnt going to starve!
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July 25th, 2006, 04:19 AM
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With my first, I was induced and the labour lasted around 3 days in total. I didnt eat for three days. I was vomiting during the pushing and i was just vomiting liquid and the midwives were saying "HAVE YOU NOT EATEN ALL DAY!?!?!?" I just didnt feel like it. Even less so with #2. Although the painful labour only lasted 3 hours.
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July 25th, 2006, 04:25 AM
LaLa's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I will be eating if I feel like it.

Ive seen hospitals frown on it (they def do here) but theyre moving away from the "in case of general anesthesia" excuse and just saying "well a lot of moms throw up in transition". Personally Id rather puke something up & get it over with than dry heave for god knows how long. But usually unless youve had a large meal, it shouldnt be an issue. Light, easily digestible snacks for energy are usually best.

As for the anesthesia excuse - I would like to know what they do about these people who are in major car accidents, often on the way home from dinner, who need major surgery, and why if it IS an issue, they cant apply the same common sense to pg women.

Thing is - so few women have to be put under general anesthesia - something like 2% of women? And in studies done about aspirating while under general anesthesia - it occurs in a small percentage of people under general anesthesia.

So - basically - you face a small chance of even being under general anesthesia to begin with.. and an even smaller chance of aspirating if you are put under. The chances of that risk are so minute - they subject you to risks greater than that all the time in labor as part of their hospital procedures. Heck - not eating for 32 hours has a higher potential for a negative outcome lol!

So, as a doula, I bring snacks to all the births, and just figure - hey - if the mom wants it - who am I to deny a pg woman food?!


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July 25th, 2006, 05:38 AM
wonderfullymade's Avatar Doula & MW Apprentice
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Like LaLa said -a very small amount of women are put under for general anymore. And, of those few, an even smaller percent will even have the risk of aspiration (as most will not have a nauseasous reaction to the meds). So - to me it is plain as day - this is an athletic event and you need fuel to burn so that your body is at its utmost. Take the fuel.

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July 25th, 2006, 05:51 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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I am all for eating and drinking in labor. The studies they base the NPO rules for a hospital birth on are about 60 years old. We don't even use the same kind of gas masks anymore! Plus they say you may throw up if you eat or drink. I say good because it is normal to throw up if you haven't had anything. It's a sign of cervical dilation. I threw up in Ani's labor (hospital, nothing to eat or drink), didn't in Cameron's (birthing center, drinking a lot during labor), and did in Fritz's (home, drinking a little in labor). So, for me, the one birth where I consumed the most during it I did not throw up. Go figure.

Most women will stop eating naturally around 5 cm dilated give or take. Of course there are exceptions. The midwife I had with Cameron said she had a women cooking STEAK (herself!) to eat (and she ate it) at 7-8 cm dilated. She delivered soon after she ate the steak. It was what she wanted and so it was fine. I've never wanted to eat during labor, but I couldn't get enough to drink in labor with Cameron. I forced myself to drink some in Fritz's to keep my energy up (juice). I'm all for eating and drinking to comfort. I think my labors with the boys were better and easier partly because I was consuming things.

~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
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July 26th, 2006, 08:31 AM
M!che!!e's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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i am pro eating and drinking during labor. i had gatorade and a snickers bar during my labor lol. (not the best choice but i was hungry and that was all i could convince dh to get)

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July 26th, 2006, 08:36 AM
crunchymama's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I'm all for eating in labor. I tend to have very quick labors and the thought of eating anything never entered my head. During labor with Ashlie they brought me my lunch and the smell made me want to puke.
After the baby is born that is a whole other story. I can eat for hours!. lol
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July 26th, 2006, 08:48 AM
Isaeph's Avatar Jennifer the Momma
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They wouldn't let me eat with ds either...thank goodness I had just scarfed 4 HUGE pieces of pizza immediately before my water broke. I do NOT do well without food. I did snack a bit on dh's dinner during labor though.

This time I'm doing whatever I want. If I want to eat, I will, if not, I won't. I did buy myself a frozen oj mix, so I might eat that while in labor. YUM!
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July 27th, 2006, 04:21 PM
**Jenn**'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I didn't eat during my labor and I had absolutely no desire to. My water broke at 3 in the morning so the last time I had eaten was dinner at about 6pm. My labor only lasted 6 1/2 hours from the time my water broke til he was born and eating was the last thing on my mind. I had eaten ice chips while I was walking the hallways and that's what I puked up during transition, I hate puking so I'm glad it was just water. I didn't even want much to eat afterwards either--maybe I'm just weird though.
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July 27th, 2006, 04:27 PM
picklesmama's Avatar <;,><
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I ate with my first and let me tell you I wish I hadn't. Throwing up at the same time as contractions was awful! I didn't eat with my next 2, but stuffed myself right after Fortunately my longest was my first, and that was only 12 hours start to finish. Then 6 hours for my daughter, 3 for my next son. I'm sure I can last an hour and half without a snack if this baby follows the pattern, lol.

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July 27th, 2006, 09:38 PM
Chunky Monkey's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I ate during my last labor in a hospital and had no throwing up and no complications because I ended up having a c-section.
I got up to go to the hospital at 5:30am, had a very light breakfast. We got there, all set up and they put in the cervidil (sp?) and started the pitocin. NOTHING! So when it came lunch time, I was starving and since DH was going to McDonald's I just had him bring me a double cheeseburger and we shared fries. While in the room eating, he was sitting right next to me and my burger was right in front of him so it looked like it was his in case a nurse walked in but no one did. So a little while later they brought me a clear liquid lunch but I was not hungry anymore by that time. When it came dinnertime my contractions were so bad, my MIL & DH were going to Arby's and asked me if I wanted something but I said no.

With my DD I did not eat for 18 hours and I was dry-heaving really bad. They had to give me something to settle my stomach since I had to have a c-section. With DS, I had a vaginal delivery but had him less than 6 hours after I went to the hospital in the middle of the night so food was the last thing on my mind but as soon as I had him, they brought me a sandwich.

I am all for women eating during labor, only exception is probably women with bad stomachs who might not be able to handle it.
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July 28th, 2006, 07:27 AM
Butter's Avatar Heather the Mama Duk
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For me, throwing up during contractions felt kind of good lol

~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008)
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July 28th, 2006, 04:55 PM
Super Mommy
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For me, throwing up during contractions felt kind of good lol[/b]
It opens up your abdomen and allows your uterus to contract real well actually, so makes sense

I plan on eating during this labor...and drinking LOTS of gatorade/water.
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July 28th, 2006, 07:05 PM
picklesmama's Avatar <;,><
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Oh, I wish it had felt good for me - I was so uncomfortable with my first labor - I didn't realize it at the time but I had been given some kind of sedative painkiller in my IV because I was making too much noise (they talked to hubby about it not me) and I was kind of out of it, that;s what made me sick I think, not just the fact that I ate right before.

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July 30th, 2006, 03:14 PM
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Is there any medical basis behind eating during labor? I don't see why you couldn't do it. The hospital only let me have ice chips! I was pretty ticked because I really wanted some caffiene (I'm a sodaholic!) Does the "eating/drinking rule" vary depending on the hospital and doctor. This is great information to know, maybe if I could have a Dr. Pepper during my next delivery I wouldn't cuss out everyone...lol!
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July 31st, 2006, 10:09 AM
Lash's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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more to add on this- studies show women that do eat during labor have shorter labors!

"IV fluids are not a reasonable solution to hydration problems, as they have problems of their own: over load, closer monitoring of intake and output, hyperinsulinism in infants after 25 g of glucose, and the salt free solutions can result in serious hyponatraemia in mom and baby. And the antacids are usually given in the quantity of 30 mm, a volume known to increase the risks of aspiration pneumonia.

We also know that restricting food in labor can cause problems of its own. Besides the stress factors, restricting intake during labor can cause dehydration and ketosis.

Recent studies that have been conducted on oral hydration and food intake suggest that women who are allowed to eat and drink to comfort in labor have shorter labor (by an average of 90 minutes), less need for augmentation with Pitocin, require fewer pain medications, and the babies had higher apgar scores than of those in the control group.

In another group of women studied all of the participants drank, and 85.5% of the ate during labor, usually earlier in labor. This did not appear to increase the frequency of nausea or vomiting. Allowing food and drink provides hydration, nutrition and increased comfort not to mention control for the laboring woman.

However, this is not to say that everyone should eat, nor should those allowed to eat be given complete freedom to choose what to eat. It is recommended that only women deemed low risk be allowed to eat and drink in labor. The diet that is suggested is as follows:

fruit juice
lightly cooked eggs
crisp toast and butter
plain biscuits
clear broth
cooked fruits
Ask your practitioner and birth place about their policies about food and drink during labor. If they do not reflect the current medical studies you may share the information with them and see if they will go along with your plan. Many hospitals and birth centers have special labor diets now and the women report being very satisfied with the outcomes
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July 31st, 2006, 12:24 PM
illinoismommy's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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If my labor is slow moving like my last one, I will be eating for sure. I don't want an IV and that's the only other way to get around eating. I won't eat when it gets intense because then hopefully it'll all be digested by the time I hit transition. But it'll all be a guessing game, you know
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"In the first place, whether you choose or no to take any trouble about the formation of his habits, it is habit, all the same, which will govern ninety-nine one-hundredths of the child's life. We are all mere creatures of habit. We think our accustomed thoughts, make our usual small talk, go through the trivial round, the common task, without any self-determining effort of will at all." -Charlotte Mason
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August 10th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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With ds my water broke at 42 weeks and after 8 hours I wasn't in labor so they had me come in to the hospital. Thank goodness the midwife insisted that I be fed lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning because i ended up laboring 40 hours after my water broke until ds was born. Her comment was that I'd need my strength.

I have an iron clad tummy though and had no problems at all with the food. i was also downing smoothies throughout labor LOL.

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August 10th, 2006, 03:14 PM
*:Onei*Chan:*'s Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Hey, thanks for this thread. They wouldnt even tell me why I couldnt eat during labor with DD, they simply said no. No pop, juice, water or food. Nothing. I could have a limited ammount of ice chips and thats it. I wont be going through that again, even if I have to bring snacks in my labor bag. By the time I had given birth to Isobelle it had been well over 24 hours since I had eaten and with my ulcers I had a stomach with nothing but clotted up blood to deal with. Since I have some other veiws on it to weigh on, I know that I will be at least lightly snacking this time. Thanks!
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August 11th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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I'm planning to smuggle food into the hospital with me. My hospital has the ice chips only rule. I get low blood sugar in reaction to sugary foods so I have to be very careful in what I choose to eat... Juice would give me low blood sugar, so I will be taking water, high protein snacks like cheese and almonds, and make sure I eat a good meal in early labor. I am hoping my water won't break early and that I can stay at home for most of the labor and won't have to worry about hiding my food.
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