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Child birth is one of the hardest and most physically demanding acts that a woman will ever perform. Because it takes a huge amount of strength and energy, it is important to have good, healthy snacks available before, during and after birth. Snacks need to be wholesome and packed with protein and carbohydrates for strength and energy.
As a general rule, it’s best to be guided by what you feel like eating, within reason. Keep in mind that high-fat foods can be heavy on the stomach and could make you feel sick. Sugary foods are easy to eat and give you a quick energy boost, but this is short-lived and could leave you feeling quite low. It’s a good idea to combine foods with natural sugars (for a quick pick me up and energy boost), with protein and complex carb choices, to give you the kind of sustained energy you and your body needs.
Eat little and often rather than having one big meal. A small snack every hour while you are in early labour, before you go to the hospital or call the midwife, will store up plenty of energy for the work ahead.
15 Labor Food Snack Ideas:
- Eggs. It’s a good idea to get some protein into your system at the onset of labour, because as labour progresses, you may not feel like eating much. Scrambled, poached or hard boiled eggs are great because they are light and contain lots of protein for long lasting energy. Put them on a high quality bread to maximise energy.
- Protein bars are another great choice. Find a high quality brand, like the Metagenics range we have in the clinic.
- Soup. This is easy on the stomach and you can pre-make healthy soup recipes packed full of veggies and protein and then pull out of the freezer and heat up at the onset of labour.
- Fruit. Orange or apple slices, bananas, grapes, strawberries, kiwi and melon – whatever fruit you feel like. They are high in natural sugars for energy. Try them chopped in bite-sized pieces and frozen, if desired.
- Toast. Find a high quality bread, made from spelt or another nutrient dense flour, and top it with healthy spreads like avocado, nut butter or peanut butter.
- Smoothies. Make them with fruit, veggies, yogurt, ice cubes or even nut butters, if desired.
- Nuts or seeds. An excellent source of protein packed in tiny bite-sized bits. Try peanuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- Protein balls. There are stacks of healthy recipes out there, so pick one you like and make up a container full ready to snack on during labour.
- Yoghurt. A great source of both protein and carbohydrates, in addition to being light on digestion.
- Dried fruit. Raisins, cranberries, sultanas, apricots, dates: they are high in sugar, giving you an energy boost but a far healthier option that lollies or biscuits.
- Muffins or muesli slice. Make your favourite healthy variety ahead of time and store them in the freezer until labor begins.
- Seaweed rice crackers and cheese or dip. Another light, healthy snack combining complex carbs with protein for long-lasting energy.
- Ice blocks. Find a healthy brand without the chemicals and colourings, or better yet – make your own out of fruit like pineapple, watermelon, berries, apples, etc. Often women crave cold things when labouring and this is a healthy energy boost if she is unable to eat anything substantial.
6 Labour Drink Ideas:
- Ice cubes. Simple, yet very refreshing.
- Frozen juice ice cubes. Packs a little more punch than plain ice. Freeze juice ahead of time (or even better, use juice you’ve made yourself from a nutribullet or juicer). Pour into ice cube trays, pop out and store in a zip-lock bag in the freezer until needed.
- Coconut water. This is an extremely beneficial drink choice for women in labor. Nutrient dense and super high in electrolytes which are essential for energy and muscle recovery.
- Electrolyte drinks. Try Endura, an electrolyte drink mix we stock in the clinic. Far healthier than other options like gatorade which is packed full of unhealthy sugars and colourings.
- Lemon water with honey. The honey can give a healthy energy boost, and the warm drink may be soothing to a labouring woman.
- Plain old water. Staying hydrated is super important. Remember to bring a straw to pop in the cup or bottle as this makes sipping during labour much easier.
Remember that your birth companion will need to keep their energy levels up, too. Labour can be long and hard-going, so encourage them to take regular food breaks.