Sharing - Study Finds Eating During Labor is Actually Fine for Most Women

~ Posted on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 2:09 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

"Labor and delivery is often a grueling ordeal for many women, and current guidelines rule out eating. But new Canadian research suggests that a light meal during labor could be a good idea for most healthy women.

Traditionally, women have been told to avoid eating or drinking during labor due to concerns they might inhale food or liquid into their lungs — a condition known as aspiration. Aspiration, in turn, can sometimes lead to pneumonia, the researchers said.

But they noted that medical advances have now made this problem highly unlikely in modern settings. According to the researchers, aspiration during labor is extremely rare: In the United States, there was only one case of aspiration during labor and delivery between 2005 and 2013.

The low risk of aspiration is likely due to advances in anesthesia care, such as increased use of epidurals and spinal blocks instead of delivering anesthesia through a mask over the nose and mouth, the researchers said.

In the new study, Harty’s team revisited the issue. They reviewed 385 studies published since 1990 and concluded that avoiding food and liquids during labor may be unnecessary for many women.

In fact, having a light meal may be beneficial because the energy and caloric demands of labor are so high for women — similar to running a marathon, according to the researchers. Instead of setting a “no eating” rule, “anesthesiologists and obstetricians should work together to assess each patient individually,” Harty said. “Those they determine are at low risk for aspiration can likely eat a light meal during labor. This gives expectant mothers more choices in their birthing experience and prevents them from being calorie-deficient, helping to provide energy during labor.”

Two experts agreed with the notion, but added that identifying patients at “low risk” for aspiration is key. “A light meal during labor may be beneficial for most low-risk pregnant women, especially those who wish to have early, continuous regional [pain control],” said Dr. Anthony Vintzileos, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. But he pointed out that aspiration can be an issue if an emergency Cesarean section is required due to fetal distress. In those cases, general anesthesia may be used, and “a recent maternal meal may place the woman at risk for aspiration,” Vintzileos explained.

Therefore, “the anesthesiologist and obstetricians should exercise good judgment to assess each patient individually for having a light or liquid meal during labor,” he said."

Eating During Labor

I definitely cannot comment on labors via C-section since I've never had any before so I am just sharing based on my 3 natural births experiences.

With my first delivery, I started having contractions without realizing they were contractions at about 9pm the night before. We were advised to go for induce as my latest checkup revealed low amniotic count. Hubby and I planned to go to hospital at night so that I could sort of rest while getting the jab to start the induce process. Before we leave for hospital, I had my favorite McDonalds' meals... TWICE! Yup..  TWO McChicken meal set + choc sundaes. I had this thinking that it might be my last time to have something I enjoyed eating before the baby comes. I'm glad I had the meal and had no problems giving birth few hours after reaching hospital.

With my 2nd delivery, I started getting contractions at 11pm+ and by the time we reached hospital it was about 5am. Still too early for breakfast so I didn't have any food. I gave birth 7 hours later at 12pm+ and by the time everything was ready and the nurse wheeled me back to my private suite, it was already 2pm+, way past my lunch! And I was really really really hungry and shaking! I was really happy to see my lunch tray on my hospital bed even though it was cold. I whacked my black pepper chicken immediately.

With my 3rd delivery, we had McDonalds takeaway for lunch while on the way to the hospital. I gave birth 5 hours+ later. I'm really glad and thankful I get to eat before my labor process and that there were no complications from doing so.

What do you think?

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