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What Can You Eat During Labor?

Sayonara, Ice Chips! This Study Proved Eating Real Food During Labor Is the Way to Go

Pregnant mamas, we have some juicy news that's about to make childbirth a whole lot more enjoyable. A new review of research discovered that healthy women with low-risk pregnancies may benefit from eating during labor. That's right — you can throw those ice chips out the window, and swap in something a little more substantial.

A team of researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia analyzed 10 different studies pertaining to 3,982 women in labor, all of whom were only pregnant with one child and were not at risk for a C-section birth. They compared women who were permitted to consume food during labor with those who were only allowed to munch on ice chips.

The results of the analysis were pretty fascinating. First, the researchers found that eating during labor didn't increase their risk for labor complications like vomiting, which totally debunks the reasoning for only eating ice chips. The study also discovered that pregnant women who ate regular food while giving birth had shorter labors — an average of 16 minutes shorter, to be exact.

If you've given birth before, you know that every extra minute of contractions makes all the difference. Although this doesn't necessarily mean that eating during labor will automatically speed up the rate of your delivery, it's something worth considering if your pregnancy is expected to have relatively low risk.

Before you ditch your ice chips for a juicy burger, it's important to note that related research from the American Society of Anesthesiologists suggests lighter food options, like juice, soup, fruit, or toast are the way to go. Be sure to add some of these snacks to your list of things to pack for the hospital.

So long, frozen ice chips!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock
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