What Can I Eat in Labor?
People often ask whether they’re allowed to eat snacks during labor here at the birth center. The answer is yes, you can! We’re always happy to see mothers eat during labor, so we encourage it. Labor is an energy-consuming process, and you need all the hydration and calories you can get!
Now, your next question might be what you can eat during labor. We’re happy to report that you can eat anything you like, as long as it’s pregnancy-safe.
What foods are best to eat in labor?
As we said, any of your favorite foods can be consumed during labor. Here are some nutrient-rich foods you could consider during early labor that will provide you with the fuel you will need later on.
- Nut butter on toast
These are easy-to-eat, quick foods, good for when you’re early in your labor and can stomach solids more easily. You’ll also have plenty of time to digest these foods as you progress to active labor.
Once you’re actively laboring and at the birth center, you can still eat and drink. However, most mothers like to stick to small snacks and liquids, as they’re easier to pack into your bag and provide you with hydration and energy. Here are some things you can have during active labor:
- Fresh fruit juices, like apple juice
- Coconut water
- Pregnancy-safe electrolyte water
- Fresh fruits
And of course, be sure to drink plenty of water all along!
What foods should I avoid?
Foods that are considered unsafe during pregnancy should be avoided during labor as well. It includes:
- Raw meat or seafood
- Unpasteurized milk
- Certain kinds of cheese
- Alcoholic beverages
That said, avoid foods that make you feel unwell, like extra spicy or super greasy foods and large portions of meat.
Are there certain foods that make labor easier?
While food isn’t generally considered the best labor inducer, certain foods may help labor progress faster. These include:
- Pineapples can soften your cervix and offset labor in some instances
- Dates might help shorten the duration of labor
- Raspberry leaf tea
- Spicy food can release prostaglandins that help labor progress
It is important to note that the safety and efficacy of these foods in labor are not heavily researched, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider.
What do you recommend for people in labor to eat and drink?
You can have whatever foods you feel you can easily stomach! If heavy foods become challenging, we have honey and other little snacks here for you to choose from. But you’re more than welcome to bring in your food.
While you’re actively laboring, we recommend drinking lots of water and clear liquids! It’s like running a marathon, so you need calories and energy.