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Healthapta What to eat and what not to eat during labour - Healthapta
Thursday 17 August 2017
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What to eat and what not to eat during labour


When you are in labour, chances are you would not want to eat or drink anything. Labour pain and appetite don’t go well with each other. However, you need to eat before your labour starts to replenish energy and help your body pull through the stress and strains of labour. In case your labour catches you unaware and you haven’t eaten enough to keep yourself well-hydrated and energetic, don’t panic. You can still nibble on some healthy and nutritious food during the early stages of labour.

Should you eat during labour?

Even though some doctors and practitioners believe that one should refrain from eating anything during labour, however, not eating adequately can drain you  mid-labour and force you to give up too soon. There are high chances that you might feel hungry and thirsty during labour if you fail to eat and keep yourself hydrated enough. It is advisable to listen to your body even when you are in pain. In fact, sipping on liquids or eating fruits is a great idea to replenish your energy levels during labour. Else your body will try to break down its fat stores to gain the energy. This can lead to nausea, headache and vomiting that indicate that your body is reaching to a point of exhaustion quite early. Here are few ways to deal with backache during labour.

What is the right way to eat during labour?

Ideally, you should eat a simple balanced meal before your labour starts. On the day of your labour, try having soups, salads and include more carbohydrates and proteins in your diet to stock up on your energies. Cereals, pulses, rice and a bowl full of vegetables should be an ideal combination. Eating sprouts or tofu is also a great way to get your share of protein. However, it is better to have an early dinner on the scheduled date of your labour or eat at least four hours before your labour starts. If you miss doing that, have sips of fruit juices or binge on fruits when your labour starts and you feel hungry. Ensure that you follow these simple tips while eating during labour:

  • Eat small meals and eat frequently. A snack after every one hour and half is admissible.
  • Avoid having a heavy meal before or during labour.
  • Don’t force-feed yourself.
  • If food doesn’t appeal to you, opt for juices or fruit pulp.
  • Don’t go to the labour room on an empty stomach.

What should you eat during labour?

If you wish to eat once your contractions have started or your water bag has broken, opt for foods rich in carbohydrates. These foods will give you a slow release of energy and help you pull through the contractions during the later stages of labour. Here is what happens during the second stage of labour.

Here are a few foods that you can opt for during labour:

  • Two slices of brown bread toast
  • Chapati or naan with butter
  • A bowl of breakfast cereals and milk
  • A bowl of homemade pasta
  • Boiled and mashed potatoes
  • Bananas
  • A small cup of yoghurt
  • Soup of your choice
  • Cream cracker biscuits
  • Fruit juices
  • A bowl of fruit salad or one whole fruit

What should you not eat during labour?

Here are a few foods that you should stay away from during labour:

  • Foods those are high in fats, like packaged foods, meat and non-vegetarian preparation. These foods will not get digested easily and upset your stomach making labour tough. Here is what happens during the final stage of labour.
  • Sugary foods like desserts or chocolates. Even though they can give you instant energy they will make a dent in your energy levels soon.
  • Aerated drinks or energy drinks. They would be high in calories and sugar which would not help to ease your labour a bit.
  • Avoid having any Ayurvedic herb without consulting your doctor as it could lead to complications when taken without proper consultation.

Why is one advised to stay off foods during labour?

Most times your practitioner or doctor might ask you to stay off food if you would need a C-section to deliver your baby. This is because if you eat a heavy meal and go for anesthesia, there is a possibility that food may enter the windpipe through the digestive tract when you remain unconscious However, most C-sections done these days are either with a spinal anesthesia or local anesthesia, so such a probability is ruled out. But if you have to undergo general anesthesia due to complications, inform your doctor beforehand about what you ate. This can help prevent an untoward incident during delivery.

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