The time is nearing for you to deliver the baby you’ve been nurturing and carrying for nine months! As exciting as this time is for new mothers, it is important to focus on fueling your body correctly. Just as important as it was to fuel your body throughout your entire pregnancy, it is still just as important when nearing labor and delivery. Choosing the right snacks (read what foods not to eat during early labor) to pack for labor and delivery will help!
When nearing the time for your delivery, there are a lot of factors to consider. You must consider where you will be delivering your baby, what pain relief medications you may want to utilize, and how best to support your and your baby’s health. Depending on your birth plan, you may or may not be advised to have snacks while in labor. For example, if you are in active labor in the hospital, the odds are that the nursing staff will discourage you from eating or drinking. Also, if you are having a C-section, doctors won’t want you to eat before the surgery. However, you can and should have some snacks on hand around your baby’s due date, not only for you but also for your partner (hey, labor can take a while!).
Oxytocin is a drug commonly used for cervical ripening, but research shows that consuming just six dates per day a few weeks before birth can have a similar effect.1 Dates are just one food that can greatly benefit labor and delivery. Here are a few other options that will be good to have on hand when you head to the hospital to have your baby!
Dried fruit is one snack option that can provide the body with natural sugars for quick energy. When nearing the time of your baby’s birth, you may experience a change in energy levels, so this is a great snack option to help boost your energy. Dried fruit is packed with micronutrients, fiber, and carbohydrates, but dates are not the only option. This fiber-packed snack promotes a feeling of fullness and can slow the emptying of your stomach. You want to opt for dried fruit that doesn’t have added sugar since many varieties add sugar. You won’t need it—dried fruit is sweet enough on its own! The following list provides additional dried fruit options:
Nuts are another great snack option to consume as they provide the body with protein and fats. Similar to the dried fruit option, nuts promote feelings of fullness due to their high protein content. Many nut options are a great source of vitamin E, which can reduce any nausea you might be experiencing—leading up to your baby’s birth. You may want to consider a combination of the following nut options:
Other protein-rich foods you may consider bringing along are hard-boiled eggs or cheese sticks. Both of these snack options are high in protein, calcium, and fat—not to mention they also taste great!
Bring along peanut butter crackers if you’re looking for a snack that will hit all of the macronutrients your body needs in one and leave you feeling full. Peanut butter is high in protein and fat, and the crackers will provide you with carbohydrates—making this a perfect and balanced snack! If you are not fond of peanut butter, you can consider topping your crackers with almond butter or cashew butter.
We can’t forget about our veggies! Vegetables provide the body with countless micronutrients that are necessary leading up to birth—fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C, iron, and even more! A great snack choice would be celery sticks topped with peanut butter and dried fruit—like raisins. This tasty snack is filled with all the nutrients your body needs to bring your little one into this world. Another great way to get in some vegetables would be to pack baby carrots and hummus. Hummus is packed with protein and comes in various flavors, which allows you to get creative!
Granola bars are another quick and easy snack to consider for the time up to labor and delivery. They can provide the body with whole grains, boost energy, and are typically high in vitamin E (which can also help with nausea). There are various granola bar options on the market, but two excellent choices are KashiBars and Lara Bars. Be sure to opt for ones that don’t have a lot of added sugars!
With the increased exhaustion labor and delivery can bring, honey sticks can provide that little pick-me-up you might need. Not only are honey sticks packed with essential nutrients, but they can also provide you with the quick energy your body needs to avoid exhaustion.
Bringing coconut water—like the Nature Factor brand—is a great option to maintain proper hydration throughout this process. Coconut water can provide the body with calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which can work together to relieve nausea and muscle cramps and maintain sufficient nourishment.
It is important to note that these snacks are great options to consume up to labor and delivery. During the actual process of delivering your child, no food consumption is recommended. And if you are delivering in the hospital, it is not allowed. However, it may be necessary for your partner to consume some snacks to relieve any stress or nerves they may be experiencing throughout the delivery process. Your partner may want to consider a food rich in probiotics—like yogurt—to help relieve any potential anxiety. Protein-rich food like nuts or cottage cheese is another great option to decrease stress.
Labor and delivery can be stressful for both you and your partner. Planning and thinking about snacks that both of you can enjoy throughout the process can make delivery less stressful. Food can significantly ease the nausea, stress, muscle contractions, and exhaustion you are likely to experience leading up to labor. Now that you’ve planned some nutrient-packed snacks to pack for labor and delivery, it’s almost time to meet your little one!
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