food and drink during labour

How eating during labour builds up your energy

Unless you’re a regular marathon runner, you’ll probably be burning up more energy during labour than at any other time in your life. Try and build up your reserves while you’re in early labour, by having a little snack every so often. Once your contractions become stronger you’ll probably find you’re not that hungry anyway.

What can I have to eat?

  • It’s recommended that you go for carbohydrates which give a slow release of energy, so choose things like bread, crispbreads, rice cakes, pasta, rice, dried fruit, bananas and cereals bars.
  • Some midwives also advise clear broths, milky puddings, low fat yoghurts, and cooked fruits like apple sauce. Avoid acidic fruit juice flavours like orange or grapefruit.

What can I have to drink?

Being in labour is thirsty work, so make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you well hydrated throughout.

Fizzy drinks and fruit juices, such as orange and grapefruit, are not a good idea because they contain a lot of acid which can make you feel sick. Some hospitals recommend sports drinks designed for athletes instead, because they’re quickly absorbed and give you instant energy. Ask your midwife whether she’s happy for you to have them.

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