Health Day News reports that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has given the go-ahead for women with...
Health Day News reports that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has given the go-ahead for women with uncomplicated labor to drink clear liquids during labor.


Until recently only ice chips during labor have been completely approved by the ACOG and most hospital labor staff because of the risk of aspiration if a women needs to be anesthetized for a cesarean section. However, because there has been a major reduction in cases of maternal death due to aspiration over the last 60 years people are questioning the super restrictive oral intake policies. Now ACOG says that "Patients with uncomplicated labor should be allowed to have small amounts of clear liquids, such as water, fruit juice without pulp, carbonated drinks, sports drinks, and tea and coffee." They also state that "Drinks with particulates and solid food should be avoided during labor." According to ACOG, "Expert consensus supports the recommendation that women undergoing a planned cesarean delivery or elective postpartum tubal ligation after vaginal birth should have no solid food from six to eight hours prior to surgery. Pregnant women who have additional risk factors for aspiration, such as morbid obesity or diabetes, and those at high risk for operative delivery (ie, forceps, vacuum), may need to be restricted from fluid intake on a case-by-case basis." Actually, I drank Gatorade all throughout my labor with my son which was a good thing since I was in labor for well over a day - can you imagine not eating or drinking for 24 hours+ WHILE going through labor, which is physically exhausting?! That's just insane. Not all pregnancy and labor care providers agree with the ice chips only rule or even the no food rule though. Many midwives I've know have always allowed clear liquids besides water during labor, and some studies show that light eating is safe during labor. In my non-medical opinion, labor is hard work and going through it with water only may mean you get too tired to continue. Of course, you should always talk to your labor staff before eating or drinking just to get the green light, but keep in mind that it's also partially your decision. Committee Opinion #441, "Oral Intake during Labor," is published in the September 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Tags: eating during labor food during labor ice chips in labor labor drinks liquids during labor

recommended for you