Bringing a new life into the world is a miraculous experience, but it also demands a tremendous amount of energy and endurance. As you gear up for the momentous occasion of labor and delivery, it’s crucial to consider how you can maintain your strength and stamina throughout the process.
One often overlooked aspect is the role of snacks – those small, yet mighty, bites that can make a big difference.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of snacks for labor and delivery, discussing what to bring, the importance of high-protein options, and what you should consider eating when labor begins.
The Importance of Snacking During Labor and Delivery
Labor and delivery are no small feat – they require a tremendous amount of physical and mental effort. It’s akin to running a marathon, and just as athletes rely on fuel to keep going, so do you during this incredible journey.
Snacking serves as a way to sustain your energy levels, provide essential nutrients, and prevent fatigue.
When your body is in labor, it’s working hard to bring your baby into the world. This process requires significant energy expenditure and can last for many hours.
Proper nutrition can help support your body’s needs, prevent a drop in blood sugar levels, and maintain your strength during this intense period.
Questions to ask Your Doctor about Snacks for Labor and Delivery
- Is there an official policy about eating during labor and delivery at the hospital?
- Do you have a personal opinion on eating and drinking during labor?
- Do you have any advice for me on eating or drinking during early labor at home?
- Is there ever a point where I will not be able to eat or drink during labor?
- Do you have snacks available for laboring mamas?
What Snacks to Pack for the Big Day
When packing snacks for labor and delivery, think about portability, ease of consumption, and nutritional value. Opt for snacks that are high in complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
Here are some great options to consider:
These are my definite go-to, and favorite snacks for labor and delivery! They are easily transportable and are a great source of energy. They can be hard to find in store but you can grab a pack from Amazon.
A mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and a few chocolate chips provides a balance of carbohydrates and healthy fats. Get a DIY recipe here, or grab a box from Amazon below!
Look for bars that have a good mix of fiber, protein, and natural sugars. You can find a great DIY recipe here.
A great source of protein and calcium that’s easy to snack on. String cheese is easy to pack and easy to snack on during labor.
Packed with protein and probiotics, Greek yogurt can keep you full and support your gut health. You can also pack add-ins like granola, or fresh fruit.
Nut Butter Packets
Single-serving packets of almond or peanut butter are rich in healthy fats and protein.
Apples, oranges, kiwis, grapes, and berries are hydrating and provide natural sugars for quick energy. You can pack them in mason jars for easy snacking.
Whole Grain Crackers
Choose crackers that are high in fiber to keep you feeling satisfied.
Hummus and Dippers
Hummus is a nutritious dip that pairs well with crunchy baby carrots, cucumbers, or crackers.
Why High-Protein Snacks Are Crucial
Protein is a vital nutrient during labor and delivery due to its role in muscle repair and energy production. It can also help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing sudden crashes that could lead to fatigue or dizziness.
Incorporating high-protein snacks into your labor plan can help you power through the process more effectively.
When you’re in labor, your body taps into its energy reserves. By consuming protein-rich snacks, you’re providing the building blocks your body needs to repair any muscle tissue that might be damaged during the intense contractions.
Additionally, protein takes longer to digest, offering a sustained source of energy over time.
Here are some of my favorite high-protein options for labor and delivery snacks:
Portable and protein-packed, hard-boiled eggs are a great source of energy. You can pair it with fruits, veggies, and cheese for even more options.
Greek Yogurt Cups
Opt for individual servings of Greek yogurt for a dose of protein and probiotics.
A container of cottage cheese provides a creamy and protein-rich option. Grab a couple from your local grocery store for an easy and versatile snack.
Look for bars with a good balance of protein, fiber, and natural ingredients. Make your own with this recipe, or grab ready-to-made options from Amazon.
Beef or Turkey Jerky
Lean jerky is a portable, high-protein snack option, and is easily and readily available in several varieties and flavors.
Tuna or Chicken Salad Wraps
Wrap tuna or chicken salad in whole grain tortillas for a substantial protein source. If you need a good recipe, I like this one!
These young soybeans are packed with plant-based protein.
@Nataša Mandić/Stocksy United
Roasted chickpeas or chickpea puffs are crunchy and protein-rich. Perfect for a labor and delivery snack.
Blend protein powder, fruits, and almond milk for an easily digestible and protein-packed drink. Check out this easy and fun recipe.
A handful of mixed nuts provides protein, healthy fats, and energy.
Salmon or Tuna Pouches
Single-serving pouches of salmon or tuna are a quick protein source.
If you’re into plant-based options, seitan jerky offers a meat alternative with protein.
Smart Choices for Early Labor Nutrition
As labor begins, you may experience early contractions that signal the start of the journey. During this phase, it’s important to consume easily digestible foods that won’t weigh you down. Some suitable options include:
Clear Broth: Warm, clear broth is hydrating and provides some essential nutrients.
Oatmeal: A warm bowl of oatmeal offers fiber and sustained energy.
Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce offers gentle sugars and is gentle on the stomach.
Remember, during early labor, focus on light, easily digestible snacks. As labor progresses and your energy needs increase, you can incorporate heartier options.
Must-Have Snack Packing Supplies
While choosing the right snacks is essential, having the right snack packing supplies can take your snacking game to the next level. Here are some essential items to consider including in your labor and delivery snack toolkit:
Portable Cooler Bag
Investing in a good-quality cooler bag with insulation can help keep perishable snacks fresh and drinks cold. Look for a bag with compartments to organize different types of snacks.
Sturdy, leak-proof containers are your best friends when it comes to keeping snacks intact and preventing any mess. Opt for stackable containers to save space.
These are perfect for portioning out trail mix, sliced fruits, or even crackers. They’re lightweight and help maintain freshness.
Small Ice Packs
Ensure your snacks stay at the right temperature with small ice packs that fit well in your cooler bag.
Hydration: The Unsung Hero
While we’re talking about snacks, let’s not forget about hydration. Staying well-hydrated is crucial throughout labor and delivery.
Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness, and even complications. Alongside your snack stash, be sure to pack some water, herbal tea, or electrolyte-rich beverages.
Water: Plain water is the most essential and effective way to stay hydrated.
Electrolyte Drinks: These help replenish electrolytes lost during sweating and can be beneficial during extended labor.
Coconut Water: A natural source of electrolytes and hydration.
Herbal Teas: Non-caffeinated herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, or raspberry leaf can provide hydration and comfort.
Infused Water: Add slices of citrus fruits, berries, or herbs to your water for a refreshing twist.
Ice Chips: Sucking on ice chips can provide hydration while soothing a dry mouth.
Good Water Bottle Options:
Known for their excellent insulation, Hydro Flask bottles can keep your beverages cold for hours.
Durable and easy to carry, Nalgene bottles are a popular choice.
Stylish and functional, S’well bottles come in various sizes and designs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: What snacks should I bring during labor and delivery? A: Pack snacks that are high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Trail mix, granola bars, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit are excellent choices.
Q2: Why are high-protein snacks important during labor? A: High-protein snacks provide sustained energy, support muscle repair, and help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes.
Q3: What should I eat when I start labor? A: Opt for easily digestible snacks like clear broth, fruit smoothies, oatmeal, and toast with nut butter during the early stages of labor.
Q3: Can you eat during labor?
The quick answer is that it’s up to your provider and birthplace! But generally, if you are laboring on your own, and you are considered low-risk, most providers allow you to eat light meals/snacks.
Labor and delivery are transformative experiences that require stamina, energy, and preparation. Including a variety of nourishing snacks in your birth plan can make a significant difference in how you manage the challenges of the journey.
By focusing on high-protein options, easily digestible choices for early labor, and staying well-hydrated, you’re setting yourself up for a more comfortable and empowered birthing experience.
As you pack your hospital bag, don’t forget to include these thoughtful snacks – your body will thank you for the extra fuel when it matters most.