Snacks for Labor
During labor, the last thing on your mind is probably your growling stomach.
In the past, there has been a strict hospital enforced standard that women should not eat during labor. Thankfully, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recently released new guidelines around this topic and slowly providers and hospitals across the U.S. have started to come around.
Women in labor are now encouraged to eat through the labor process although very few hospitals have formally changed their policy.
It’s important to get some food in your system.
There’s no golden rule about the labor timeline and you could be in active labor for hours or longer. Labor and delivery are physically strenuous on the body and sustained energy will keep a mother feeling strong throughout the process. Recent studies about women’s metabolisms during labor have shown that the average mother in labor requires as many calories as a marathon runner.
A heavy meal wouldn’t do much good and would most likely cause some indigestion. However, a balanced healthy meal will keep the flow of energy stable during delivery.
You’ll probably be the hungriest during early labor.
While you shouldn’t eat a large meal, a smaller meal rich in carbohydrates is a good choice. Carbs release energy at a slower rate and they’re easier for the body to digest. Sticking to foods like soup, toast, pasta, crackers or yogurts will be easy to eat for that first stage of labor. A good rule of thumb is to eat a small snack every hour while you’re in the early stages of labor. Don’t forget to fuel up your partner as well because they will be running the marathon with you!
Once you hit active labor your appetite will most likely disappear.
Besides keeping your body nourished, it is equally important to stay on top of your fluid intake. Being dehydrated not only depletes your body of the energy is needs, but it can even slow your labor down. The obvious first choice for liquids that keep you hydrated is water. Another great choice is something birth workers call “laborade”. It is a combination of carbohydrates, minerals and electrolytes that will keep your body chemistry balanced as you work your way through labor.
Keep some healthy and restorative meals on hand for different stages of your labor and delivery, giving you convenience that doesn’t compromise nutrition. Keep organic wholesome snacks in your hospital bag for you and your partner to ensure you whisk away hunger pains with sustainable energy. These homemade breakfast bars are easy make, easy to transport, and are packed full of nutrients.
It’s important to stay nourished and hydrated through every stage of the labor process, so be sure to include wholesome snacks and refreshing fluids on your ‘hospital bag essentials’ list.
For the raspberry chia jam:
1 cup raspberries (If you aren’t a raspberry fan, try blueberries, blackberries or strawberries)
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chia seeds
For the bars and crumble topping:
1 cup organic rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
1 1/4 cup pitted Medjool dates
1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Place the chia jam ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Set the jam aside to thicken in a separate bowl for about 15 minutes while you prepare the bars.
- Rinse the food processor. Pulse the oats in the food processor until they become the texture of coarse flour. Add the walnuts, whole vanilla bean and salt. Turn the processor on and with the motor running, add the dates through the feeder one at a time until the mixture is uniform in texture.
- Evenly press 3/4 of the mixture in an 8-inch by 8-inch square pan, reserving the other 1/4 as the crumble topping.
- Spread the chia jam over the mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with the remaining crumble topping. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into bars. Store bars in the refrigerator.