One thing you’ll need to think about when you’re making your birth plans is what food you’d like to eat during and after labor. Unlike old hospital practices, home birth midwives NEED you to keep your energy up with good nutrition and hydration in labor. This is especially true for long labors, and since no one knows when they’re going to draw the long straw of a long labor, it’s important to snack throughout every labor.
What to eat after the birth should also be considered. Laboring is like any athletic event–you’re going to need to recover. You’ve got to rebuild your reserves and rehydrate. I like to see the birthing person drink 16 ounces of an electrolyte replacer or juice right after birth. A substantial meal soon after is not only a good idea, but usually necessary–I’ve never been so hungry in my life! And if you’re wanting to take ibuprofen for after pains or soreness, you’ll need some food in your belly first.
Plan snacks that don’t take too much effort to eat. This isn’t the time for steak and potatoes. Think about foods that go down easy, and ones that won’t be too unpleasant if they come back up. Think about foods that sound good to you when you’re feeling under the weather.
Some popular labor snacks:
- Crackers and cheese
- Those baby food/juice pouches
- Lara (or other) bars
Some popular “after birth” (that sounds bad) foods:
- Soup (a wise midwife suggests freezing soup in single portions so they are easily defrosted after the birth)
- Toast and peanut butter
- Eggs and potatoes
- Crockpot type meals–stews, barbecue chicken, etc.
If you’re having several helpers at your birth, you can assign one of them to food prep–we love having someone attend to this task!
Oh, and as an aside, people often ask what we midwives would like to eat. Of course our preferences all vary quite a bit (and we have different restrictions–for example, I’m a pescatarian), most of us appreciate just having a well-stocked supply of snacks and most of the above foods work just fine for us. We don’t always end up eating at your birth, but we always appreciate having food available. But if it’s a fast labor and the timing is right, birth workers often enjoy going out to eat after the birth to replay and process the day’s events.