Doula guide to eating in labor

Can I eat during labor? This is a question that will get you lots of different answers but who exactly is right? I think it’s more of a what’s right for me, talk to your doctor or midwife about where they stand on the issue. Evidence supports eating & drinking during labor. These days a lot more doctors are saying it’s okay depending on what you’re eating and when. Most but not all hospital guidelines are NPO (nothing by mouth) no eating in case you need a general anesthetic for a C-section there is a small chance of aspiration (food in the stomach can regurgitate and enter the lungs) & since the odds of this happening are not common more doctors & hospitals are becoming more relaxed with the rules. The best thing to do if you plan on eating is make sure you eat before you go to the hospital something light because chances are you won’t be able to at the hospital.



There is no denying that you are going to need to keep up your energy. Some studies have shown that small amounts of food and liquids during early labor can help you cope & help give you the energy for active labor later on when the time comes to push. Your body is burning a lot of energy & needs to refuel otherwise your just burning more calories than you’re taking in which can lead to nausea, vomiting & headaches.


Most women are hungry during the early stages of labor & eating will help you get to the final stage. Keep in mind you shouldn’t eat a large meal but some light smacks & plenty of fluids can help.



Things you might want to eat are sugar it will give you a boost of energy but keep in mind it won’t last and may leave you feeling more tired. Carbs are good because they slowly release energy lasting longer giving you that extra push you need.


·         Honey sticks are a good choice it’s a small amount but enough to give you a little more energy


  • Applesauce
  •  Jello
  • Peanut butter & jelly


  • Energy bars
  • Pasta
  • Toast
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • Popsicle's
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Fruit juice or coconut water

Keep in mind that this is just early labor once you’re in active labor you most likely won’t want to eat but make sure you keep drinking fluids labor is hard & you don’t want get dehydrated. Have your partner remind you to keep drinking because chances are you will be so distracted that you may not remember



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Just reminding you this is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. Always see a licensed medical professional for that 

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