If we were planning on running a marathon, other than spending months training, we’d also probably take the time to think about other important things surrounding the event. We might pick out the most comfortable clothes, carb load the days before, and plan snacks that give us that boost we need to keep us going through the exhaustion phase.
So why not do it for labour? It is, as the word rightly suggests, hard work, and it takes a huge amount of energy to birth a baby. In my years working as a midwife, I have seen the most extensive hospital bags; filled with every hat, vest and baby grow combinations available. But rarely, do they contain any sort of nutritional snack that will help a mum in labour. Why is that? Most women don’t even think about eating during labour. But as we all know, labour can last quite a while, and midwives know from experience that keeping you well fed and hydrated will help keep you going. So here’s hoping I can inspire a new addition to that labour bag, and give you a few tips on smart snack choices.
Choose snacks that you know you like, and are a bit of a treat. The last thing you’ll feel like eating when in labour is something that you don’t even fancy at the best of times. You might like Natasha’s Apricot & Chia Protein Balls for example.
Treats that don’t require a lot of chewing, and pack a nutritional punch, are the way forward. When you’re exhausted, even chewing can seem like too hard a task! Smoothies are a great choice as you don’t need to chew them, and they can give you that energy you need. The Peach, Cashew and Bee Pollen smoothie would be a great choice!
Don’t go for very heavy foods or large quantities; roast dinners, for example, generally don’t go down so well. Small, light and nutritional snacks are your best bet (1).
Indulge in something sweet. Sugar, as well all know, gives us that boost of energy we require to beat the afternoon slump, but isn’t necessary if we are just sitting about. Labour is hard physical exercise, so if there’s any time to have something sweet, this is it. Dried fruits such as dates, apricots and figs are high in natural sugars (2) and are good choices during labour.
Make some juice. And I don’t mean the green kind unless that’s your favourite. Something as simple as pressed apple and pear juice will do to give you some energy and hydration when you need it most.
Last but not least, don’t forget that when your baby is finally in your arms, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is cooking. So make sure to use your maternity leave before the baby arrives wisely, and cook some freezer friendly dishes to have at hand for when you just want to spend quality time with your bundle of joy.