Preparing for Labor : Eating Healthy

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Most women eat well & take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy as they know how important proper nutrition is for growing their baby’s brain & body.  In a previous article, we talked about what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy, but pregnancy is like training for a marathon.  You prepare and eat a healthy diet for months, but labor day is actually the day you are running that marathon.  On the final day of pregnancy when preparing for labor you want to make sure you’re in optimal shape for the birth-giving process and for following postpartum recovery!

Here are a few tips on what to eat & drink and what to avoid around your due date and on labor day itself to help you prepare for labor!  Also, we can’t say this enough to always make sure to check with your doctor or midwife first as they know the best.

 

What to eat and drink?

 

Water

Drink water and tons of it!  You need to stay hydrated and may not want to drink enough in labor. If you need flavor, add a couple of slices of melon, strawberries or a few mint sprigs. Coconut water is a great option too!

 

Healthy Fats (DHA and EPA)

Healthy fats reduce inflammation in your aching body.  It may prevent prenatal and post-partum depression and increase breast milk production. Food that rich in healthy fats are avocados, walnuts, flaxseeds (ground or oil) just to name a few.

 

Protein

Protein will give you a steady supply of energy to last through the day. It is best to eat lean protein in the form of eggs, chicken or lean meats.

 

Whole Grains

Whole grains are nutritionally dense, keep you satisfied longer and contain important vitamins and minerals. Great options are brown rice, steel cut oats, barley & millet

 

Complex Carbohydrates

Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide lots of fiber to not only carry the nutrients through your body but to help keep your digestive system running smoothly.

 

 

Your plate should consist of half vegetables, one quarter protein and one quarter whole grain starch.  As labor begins, you can eat small snacks or a light meal before going to the hospital as many doctors do not allow eating once you arrive.  Soups & broths, whole grain toast, eggs, brown rice and veggies are all great options but remember to keep it light and don’t overeat!  Stay hydrated with lots of water!

 

What to Avoid?

 

There are also some foods or drinks you’d better avoid when preparing for labor:

 

Dairy products

Dairy contains hormones used to artificially stimulate excess milk production in cows.  These hormones interfere with our own hormone production and can interrupt important signals to your body to properly progress labor along.  But the good news is you can substitute with organic almond milk, hemp milk or rice milk.

 

Sugar

Sugar contains empty calories, leads to unnecessary weight gain, wreck havoc on your overall blood sugar, and does little to satisfy your hunger.

 

Coffee and coffee blended drinks

Caffeine interrupts your sleep/wake cycles and stresses your adrenal glands leading to undue stress and fatigue.  Other drinks like black tea and soda, you should also cut them off.

 

 

In general, eating healthy when preparing for labor can make a huge difference in your endurance and the way you feel.   Happy Birthing Day!  It’s the most amazing and unforgettable time of your life!

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