While it might be the last thing on a woman’s mind, doula Chrissie Smith-Schuler says it is very important that she eats during labour.
“You would not run a marathon or do major exercise without eating and keeping hydrated. Labour takes a lot out of a woman’s body and she uses a lot of calories. One of the reasons for failure to progress can be that she is tired or has not eaten enough or becomes dehydrated,” says Chrissie.
So, what are the best snacks for labour? Can pregnant women drink Energade and should you pack isotonic drinks for labour? I’ll break it all down for you so that you can add snacks to your birth plan for the fuel you’ll need for the big day.
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So what are the best labour snacks for your hospital bag?
Ultimately, what to eat in labour depends on your personal preferences and what you can bear to stomach at the time. You may find yourself ravenous, or have difficulty working up any kind of appetite. Be prepared for both scenarios with these labour snacks and drinks ideas.
Drinks: Can you drink Energade during pregnancy?
Is Energade safe during pregnancy and labour? Absolutely! Isotonic drinks such as Energade energy drink, Powerade and Lucozade are packed with electrolytes and sugars.
It is a good idea to have two energy drinks for labour to give a sugar boost if needed. Remember to have water readily available as a labouring woman will get thirsty.
Mom may also enjoy sucking on ice cubes during active labour as she could get very hot. Most hospitals will be able to supply ice.
Sweet and savoury snacks for labour: Bite-sized and calorie-dense
You’ll probably throw a fork and knife across the room if someone hands them to you during labour. Look for bite-sized snacks that are packed with calories.
Dried fruits, date balls, biltong or dried wors (if you eat it), nuts, chips or pretzels and fruit are also great.
Energy sweets for labour
It is also good to have sweets like jelly beans or babies, energy bars or energy sweets. Your sweet tooth will be grateful and your body will love the energy.
It’s important to have sweet and savoury things as mom may want either.
Pack all the good snacks for labour and more
You can never be over-prepared when it comes to snacks. Who knows how long you’ll be in labour?
Don’t forget about dad or your partner – they should have snacks for themselves. Sharing would be the last thing on your mind, so make sure your partner brings their own snacks.
Try to get a wide variety of snacks. What you don’t eat in labour, you’ll likely eat after the birth especially if you plan to breastfeed as it will likely make you hungry.
ONE OF THE REASONS FOR FAILURE TO PROGRESS CAN BE THAT SHE IS TIRED OR HAS NOT EATEN ENOUGH OR BECOMES DEHYDRATED.
Moms share their choice of snacks during labour:
Thando Mhlungu: I took snacks, but it wasn’t enough, lol. My labour lasted for three days! I took coconut water and Energade (for the electrolytes), as well as drinking yoghurt. I had Lay’s crisps and sugar-free sweets. The yoghurt helps a lot when you get to the point that you can’t eat anything more, but you need the energy. I also had a ton of chopped pineapple because “they say” it helps dilate the cervix. After the birth, I had a lot of tea and porridge to prepare my milk!
Melissa Carmen Lidbetter: I would suggest dried fruit, some yummy biscuits and, very importantly, a nutrition or vitamin shake. Similac has a very nice one for pregnant and breastfeeding mums. Or even something like Ensure. You need things that will give you energy and also some well-deserved yumminess and treats.
Sebrine Schuler: Juice, cheddar biscuits and wine gums. I had a 12-hour labour.
Robynn-lee Havenga: Rooibos tea, Energade, water, Jungle Oats bars and Energade jellies. And then after birth, anything and everything in front of me! Lol!
Bronwen Beytell Doula: Small snacks, so things like dates, nuts, biltong, nut bars. Things to drink: lots and lots of water. Energade is also nice.
Shirley MacGorgeous: Fruit salad, Jelly Babies and Energade.
Nicole Trautman: Chewy sweets, small yoghurts, sports drink for slow-release/sustained energy.
Riandi Steyn: Protein bars and oat cookies were my go-to.
Danielle Mac Farlane Palmer: Food Lover’s have this yummy pecan nut bar; Powerade; trail mix… oh, and Lunch Bar.
Tamryn Cathy Schmal: Small snacks high in energy are good during labour, e.g. dates, nuts, jelly sweets, honey and coconut water.
These moms show that an Energade drink during pregnancy and labour is a must! There’s an overarching theme of nutritious snacks that provide moms with a lot of good sugars, energy and fuel.
What to eat in labour
The fact is, every mom is different as is every labour. Even if you don’t eat or drink everything you’ve packed during labour, it is always better to be prepared. Think of your favourite foods so you can pack all the best labour snacks in your hospital bag.