Turns out starving yourself while enduring one of the most physically straining events of your life is not a good idea. For years, doctors advised women not to eat or drink during labor pains, but a new study directed by the The American Society of Anesthesiologists shows that eating during labor should be encouraged. In fact, researchers discovered that the amount of calories a woman in labor needs is similar to that of a marathon runner. Break out the snacks, ladies.
Previously, doctors feared that if a woman ate during labor she would inhale liquid or food into the lungs. But according to the new study, the risk of this happening is incredibly low, while the health risks associated with low nutrients can be much more severe.
These guys took into consideration 385 studies published in 1990 or later all focussing on women who gave birth in a hospital. They found that if a woman is not well-nourished during labor, her body will start using fat as an energy source. This causes a whole slew of bad stuff, including an increase in acidity in blood, which leads to reduced contractions, which leads to longer labor and could hurt the baby's health. It's a slippery slope. Better snacking than sorry.
Of course, all women are unique and should consult with a doctor before mowing down those chicken wings in the hospital bed, since individual circumstances could change things. Also, the study suggests a "light snack," so not the time to finish that pot roast.
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Kara King is a News Writer for Thrillist and babies still terrify her. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her at @karatillie.