Friday, February 8, 2008

Food for Labor

Since I'm a long way from going through labor again, it's interesting that today I was struck with the inspiration to do this post. But, if it will help any of you out there who are very close to having a baby, then great! I do have LOTS of pregnant friends this year!

If you're anything like me, you don't exactly feel like eating in labor, even if they are long and tiring labors. There are some things that are VERY good for keeping your stamina up during labor though.

*Frozen grapes--keep a few little ziploc bags in the freezer close to the end of your pregnancy so you can grab them during labor at home or take them to the hospital with you. My midwife highly recommended these and said something about how the frozen consistency caused them to be broken down and used more quickly by your body so they were a great energy booster in labor. They're just a great snack for a hot summer day too, whether or not you're pregnant!

*Gatorade slushies--Drink a few swigs of Gatorade and then stick it in the freezer. Take out during labor or on your way to the hospital. Make your husband shake it up for you and it will taste just like a refreshing slush. Have a few bottles on hand in the freezer! My favorite is Grape or Riptide Rush! Small sips through a straw between contractions are good for keeping you hydrated.

For the hospital bag (or for the cupboard if you are doing a home birth):
Some of your favorite snacks and comfort foods. I can't stress enough how bad the food is in the local hospital here. My friend recently had a baby and spent 3 days in the hospital and after she tried to cut into a pancake with a knife and couldn't, she asked the nurses to take her off the meal list and requested that her husband bring her all her meals from fast food places. King Jo and I couldn't even determine exactly what one of the things on my tray was (it was rubbery and orange and didn't look like cheese but didn't look like eggs either!) My "toast" was cold, soggy, and soft. This is why when you call your folks or friends to tell them the news and they ask to visit, tell them they are welcome to come if they come laden with sugar donuts or bagels from your favorite bakery. I brought blueberry muffins and caramel rolls to my friend the night she delivered, straight from the oven and still warm and she was SO THANKFUL!
We had extra Gatorades in my bag and these proved invaluable for drinking during post-childbirth recovery. Nurses keep you well supplied with crushed ice and a water pitcher, but it's nice to have something like Gatorade on hand that's not as sickly sweet as juice but is more flavorful than water. Other good ideas for snacks: peanuts, saltine crackers, pudding cups, jerky, favorite candy bars, fruit leathers, string cheese (if you have a mini cooler). Why so many snacks for what is likely only a 1-2 day stay? Because I was STARVING after the exertion of an all-night labor both times and was in dire need of nourishment, especially after Jer's birth with the great loss of blood. Nursing causes one to be exceptionally hungry too.
Don't forget to pack a bunch of snacks for hubby as well! I'm pretty sure that when they brought me meals he either had to share or watch me eat because they would only bring ME the meal as I was the admitted patient. Depending on how long your labor is he may get pretty hungry since he's not dealing with the fierce pain and possible nausea you are! My husband likes to stay with me through EVERYTHING, even curling up on the lumpy and squeaky cot next to my hospital bed all night long, so it's crucial that he has something to eat too!
I have to say I'm biased about homebirth! After our homebirth with our daughter, our wonderful midwife whipped me up some peanut butter toast and a drink and tucked me in bed. Then she left a big bowl of homemade chicken wild rice soup in the fridge for us so that we when all woke from our family nap we would have a nutritious and delicious supper. She cleaned everything up including the birthing pool and bathroom and kitchen, and even did a load of towels for us and got a photo CD made for us of our new baby that very day (back then we didn't have a digital cam). Then she drove 1.5 hours back to her house to get a little sleep and came back the next day to do the baby check-up. We couldn't have asked for better care! Those of you who live in MN and still have the option of using her are blessed indeed!


Mrs. Taft said...

As soon as I delivered the placenta, I looked straight at my husband and said "I. Want. Steak." So he walked into the other room, then out onto our deck, and BBQ'd me a steak. By the time we were done cleaning up I had freshly grilled medium rare steak. He made a huge one and I ate the whole thing LOL! I was so weak from the blood loss that I couldn't cut it, so my midwife's helper cut it for me and fed it to me. :) And then when I was done, we sang "Happy Birthday" to the baby and my mom produced a birthday cake she'd made with my older daughter while I was in labor. I <3 homebirth.

I think you have some great suggestions. I would never, ever have thought about frozen grapes! That's a great tip, thanks for sharing!

Josh & Laura Helweg said...

These sound so great Lindsey! I can;t really use hardly any though.. with C-sections, they make you wait like a day to eat anything REAL. With Leah, she was born late Sun night (my last full meal was sat.night) and then I had to wait until TUESDAY night before I was allowed real food.. like steak!! I was dying for anything other than ice cream/jello/pudding/broth etc..
So with this one, I know I can count on a day's diet at least.. but there are some great tips there for moms who deliver vaginally!!! I love the frozen grapes idea.. :)

Timothy and Rebecca said...

I love the frozen grapes idea! I am sad to say that our hospital doesn't allow any food during labor, though. I keep looking for idea's, though. I don't know what exactly they will feed me....probably nothing. Hopefully I won't be in labor too long (hope, hope, hope).

Christine said...

I am biased about homebirth too; I love it! I had also heard that frozen grapes are great in between contractions!I definitely want a stash of them, next time!

Mrs. Jo said...

That's a great story Mrs. Taft! Sounds like you had a homebirth!

Bummer about having to diet on jell-o and pudding for a day Laura! I hope this next one is a much better experience!

God's blessings on your upcoming labor Rebecca! I must admit your comment really confused me at first as I have an Aunt Rebecca who is married to a Timothy and I was trying to figure out why they were talking about having another baby as they have been done having kids for a long time!

Pin It
Pin It
Pin It