For years, women have been discouraged from eating during labor and that the act of childbirth needs to be approached with caution in regard to diet.
Certain studies seem to suggest that woman who ate, while her contractions pushed her on towards birth, made this period much longer, even resulting in a caesarean section to remove the baby.
A new more extensive program has been carried out at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in London over a four year period and it indicates very contrary results.
The study included nearly 2,500 women, all healthy and having their very first baby. Split into two groups, half were only allowed water or ice chips, whilst the other 50 % were encouraged to eat regular amounts of bread, fruit juice and yoghurt etc, in small quantities.
Researchers were looking for differences in length of the labor, type of birth and instances of nausea but none were found. The health and weight of the baby was also seen to be no different between the two groups. This whole study is seen as very reliable as it was well run and covered a large test group.
The alarm at a women eating while having her baby all started when in the 1940’s some women breathed in food to their lungs. This is known as pulmonary aspiration and can occur during an operation under general anesthetic, although it is much rarer nowadays.
Modern medicines offer women an alternative now in the form of an epidural procedure, which is more often used.
It would seem just like most things connected with pregnancy and childbirth, eating at this time should be decided by an individual and discussed with the midwife.