Foods You Should Be Eating For Labor

Medjool dates isolated on a white studio background.
I’m sure you know how important proper nutrition is during pregnancy, but did you know that what you eat and drink can have a direct impact on the length and ease of your labor?

In the last trimester of pregnancy (some women start earlier), drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea (or taking it in tablet or other forms) is believed by many to make labor shorter and easier. It relaxes the uterus, potentially causing contractions to be more efficient, as the uterus is able to rest between contractions. It also seems to make a difference in regards to interventions—women who take Red Raspberry Leaf supplements of some kind may have fewer forceps- and vacuum-assisted births.

Eating dates has also been shown to shorten and ease labor. Dates are incredibly nutrient-rich, and studies have shown many benefits for women who eat at six dates a day during their last month of pregnancy.

These benefits include:

  • Very high chance of going into labor spontaneously, meaning….
  • Reduced need for induction! Less need for Pitocin! Let’s keep our labors uncomplicated!
  • Women who ate dates were further dilated when they got to the hospital, and….
  • Fewer women had their waters break before getting to the hospital! (Less mess AND lower risk for infections!)
  • And most exciting? Women who ate dates for this study knocked an average of about 6 ½ hours off of the latent (early) stage of labor, when the cervix dilates from 0-3 cm. I’d say that’s worth a few dates!

One study even shows that eating dates after placental delivery might reduce postpartum bleeding!

Another thing you can do while in labor to shorten it is eat light, carbohydrate-rich snacks during early labor (dates, anyone?) to give your body the fuel it needs to labor efficiently and effectively. Nothing too heavy or fatty, though—you don’t want to get sick once labor gets more intense. Some women suck on honey sticks as labor gets further along, so that they don’t nauseate themselves with the process of digestion but still get a nice energy boost.

Lastly, stay hydrated. Studies have linked dehydration with longer labors, and you also will not feel well as you labor. Muscles like water, and the uterus is a giant muscle—so give it what it wants!

And remember, however long your labor lasts, it will all be so worth it once you see your beautiful baby!

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