acog oral intake during labor

Eating and Drinking During Labor:: Nourishing Snacks

We are often asked by our clients what they should eat and drink during labor, so we decided to provide you with our favorite round up and a free printable! Labor is (most often) a process covering the span of many hours, with your body constantly working towards the end goal of a healthy baby and mom. You will be walking, squatting, rocking and swaying as you move through your contractions. Your body temperature will increase as labor progresses and you will need nourishing food and restorative liquids to sustain you during early and active labor stages. When the body doesn't have proper nourishment, it can cause dehydration and ketosis, a metabolic state that makes your body utilize fat stores for energy when there aren't enough carbohydrates to pull from. Dehydration and Ketosis can lead to increased vomiting, nausea, headaches and sheer exhaustion. Not what you what during labor! 

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Am I Allowed to Eat During Labor? 

The standards vary widely, so speak to your Doctor or Midwife about eating and drinking during labor and ask your hospital about their current policies. If you want to do more research, Rebecca Decker does a great analysis of the current studies available over at Evidence Based Birth.  If you just want the delicious snack ideas, then we've got you covered! 

What should I eat?

Nourishing Labor Snacks

  • Broth / Miso Soup

  • Yogurt - dairy or alternative

  • Fruit - Bananas, Apples, Berries

  • Protein and Granola Bars

  • Energy Chews

  • Salty Crackers

  • String Cheese

  • Toast, Bagel or English Muffin

  • Peanut Butter Packets

  • Honey or Agave Sticks

  • Applesauce or Fruit Squeezers

  • Natural Fruit Popsicles

  • Scrambled or Boiled Egg

  • Brown Rice or Plain Pasta

  • Oatmeal

  • Trail Mix

  • Protein Muffins


  • What should I drink during Labor?

Restorative Labor Drinks

  • Coconut Water

  • Electrolyte Water

  • Hot/Cold Water

  • Hot/Cold Tea (Nettle & Raspberry Leaf)

  • Ice Chips

  • Electrolyte/Emergen-C Powder

  • Natural Calm Powder

You're all set to keep yourself hydrated and nourished during the amazing and long race of labor. Don't Forget about that post birth meal! You will be absolutely ravenous for a hearty meal after you give birth. Write down some ideas for food delivery near your birth location (hello door dash!) and pack a frozen meal in case you have your baby in the middle of the night.