Nuts & seeds can be a great healthy source of energy, but if you’re not a nuts & seeds kind of person you’re simply not going to fancy them during labour! Be honest. If you’re more of a chocolatey person (like me!), go for chocolate, if you’re more of a nuts & seeds girl then go for them. But be aware that your mouth might feel a bit dry so anything overly chewy might not go down that well. Also gas & air can leave your mouth tasting funny so water alone might not cut it.
Here’s a list of my favourite energy giving snacks & drinks that are great to have handy.
Super food, super taste, super texture. Easy to chew & swallow, convenient and in my opinion quite simply the number 1 food for labour.
Prunes & Dates
Both have a huge amount of sugar content so great for that boost, but they also have a large amount of fibre which means that you might be able to empty your bowels before the big event. On top of that, dates are noted for boosting oxytocin receptors. Although most beneficial to eat several each day for the last month of pregnancy, they are definitely useful during labour to snack on too.
Make your own smoothie with whatever you enjoy. I personally love making a mealy type of smoothie by roasting oats & blending them so they give a really sustainable energy boost and fill you up.
Try drinking soup out of a cup or flask to make it easier. If you make your own try blending in some lentils to give an extra boost of energy and you could make your own stock from chicken or bone. And if you make a big batch you’ve got some super easy & nutritious healing food for the postnatal period.
Homemade flapjacks are the best – the sweetness gives you an instant boost while the oats release energy slowly to keep you going through those surges. My favourite naughty recipe is Nana Goy’s cranberry flapjacks from the Leon cookbook. Lush! And you’ll have spares for keeping your energy up once your little wonder has arrived.
Slow releasing energy from the oats is great. Try adding fruit or honey for that extra flavor and even bigger instant energy hit.
Any way you like! Eggs are a fantastic source of protein that can keep you going for ages.
Apart from it being mega delicious it’s a sugar & carbohydrate food which means energy combined with your favourite flavours. Winner.
Ok not the healthiest option in the world but definitely has benefits. Of course there’s the obvious sugar hit & taste sensation. But have you ever heard of Baker’s Bottom? No I’m not talking about the size your bum will be if you eat nothing but cake!! I’m talking about the motion of your bum & hips when you’re baking. You need to do this the old fashioned way, by hand rather than using an electric whisk. As you stir or cream the mixture your hips will circle and wiggle beautifully, creating space and working with gravity to get baby into the most perfect position, pressing against the cervix to stimulate the production of prostaglandins. Not only has this taken your mind off labour for an hour or so, but the best bit is that you can have a slice of delicious cake during labour and there’ll be some left for you after you’ve birthed your little darling. And every birth day deserves cake, right?
Not just any old chocolate… go for a good quality dark chocolate with a high percentage of coco solids. Have a few squares whenever you feel like it during labour but especially for that second stage when you start breathing baby down & out. Chocolate is said to help with the production of Oxytocin and gives us energy.
Raw honey / Honey straws
A few teaspoons of honey will give you a swift pick-me-up to help you through the final throws of labour. Honey straws are a new discovery for me, but they’re absolutely brilliant for anyone who doesn’t want to eat honey, and less messy too.
Flavoured drinks will serve you well and isotonic drinks are great for keeping your fluids up. If you plan on birthing in a pool you’re likely to lose a lot of fluid through sweating but you won’t necessarily realise it.
A few practicalities
- Bendy straws are an absolute blessing… they’re also fantastic to have on hand during the newborn period especially if you’re breastfeeding.
- Bottles with caps – save you spilling anything and coming out of your zone to mop it up
- Your birth partner should remind you to eat & drink throughout your labour, and they need to eat too so important that they have snacks & drinks packed