What should I eat and drink during labour?

Giving birth to a tiny human requires a lot of energy. Planning what to eat and drink before, during and after labour is a bit like what you would do when planning to run a marathon! That is why pregnancy nutrition plan is an important element to consider, you probably wouldn’t start a marathon without having put a little bit of thought about the food and drinks your body needs before, during and after the event, and the same goes with labour. To allow your body to do its thing, it needs adequate fuel and fluids. Without appropriate nutrition and enough fluids you can quickly run into a state of exhaustion and suffer from things like headaches, extreme fatigue and nausea.

It is best to be prepared and consider what types of food and drinks you may want to be available to you, at home and in your hospital bag (or wherever you are planning to have your baby). If you are planning a hospital birth, you can’t rely on the canteen or shop being open or being provided with a hospital meal as babies have a habit of arriving in the middle of the night when little food is on offer.


1. Bitter veggies!

For example, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. These are great first foods – research shows offering these foods at the beginning of weaning can increase the likelihood that your baby will develop a liking for these healthy foods now and in the future. See previous post about veg-first weaning! Cook until nice and tender and blend into a puree or offer as a finger food.

After 6 months babies can be introduced to full-fat dairy foods (e.g. cheese, yogurt), foods containing wheat (e.g. bread, pasta, noodles, wheat-based cereals) and varied sources of protein (e.g. egg, meats, poultry, fish, beans, lentils).


2. Cereal

Add your baby’s usual milk to wheat biscuit (e.g. Weetabix) or try a baby porridge.


3. Toast fingers

This is a great one to introduce nuts (a common food allergen) to your baby as a thin layer of nut butter (choose no added salt and sugar versions) goes perfectly on toast. New research shows that early introduction to common food allergens can reduce the likelihood of your baby developing a food allergy.


4. Plain yogurt

This is often a firm favourite with little eaters. Greek-style yogurt is lovely and creamy and you don’t need to add anything to sweeten it.


5. Egg

Scrambled or boiled egg quarters. Egg is another common food allergen, so a great one to introduce early on.


6. Avocado

Mashed or sliced, this is a fantastic nutrient-rich food. Avocado mixed with banana is a popular combo!


7. Fish

This is a really versatile food, its soft texture is great for little gums. Can be offered as pieces, flaked, mashed or pureed. Make sure you check for any bones before offering it to your baby. Again, this is a common food allergen so a good one to introduce early!

At Yummy Tummy Nutrition we offer evidence-based family nutrition advice for pregnancy nutrition plan, weaning, feeding toddlers, fussy eating and more through private 1-2-1 consultations (online and in person) and group workshops. So, if you would like to book a session or find out more about the services we offer, please get in touch.

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