No Reason to Restrict Food and Water During Labor
Drink up, laboring moms! Well, drink up your water and juice and homemade sports drink*, that is.
For many years women in labor in the United States were encouraged (or required) to restrict their food and water intake. A recent large-scale analysis, however, has shown no reason for such restrictions, as reported in Restricting Food and Fluids During Labor is Unwarranted (www.cfah.org). The study found no difference between births with food and drink restrictions and births without, in terms of whether the birth was vaginal or by cesarean, the mother’s satisfaction with the birth, the baby’s APGAR score, and the baby’s blood glucose levels.
The practice of limiting food and drink stems largely from a 1940s study that showed an increased risk of aspiration during general anesthesia. Modern cesarean sections, however, are most often performed using regional anesthesia. And even when general anesthesia is needed, modern general anesthesia techniques reduce the risk of aspiration.
At Bellamins, we believe strongly that women should have choices in their birth experiences. We’re glad to see science supporting the idea that women should be able to eat and drink as they choose during labor.