If you are a midwife, then it is your job to help expectant mothers through the birthing process. You will most likely assist with home births and this means that birthing pools, essential oils, and heating pads are things that you commonly use. It can take five hours or more for a mother to go through active labor, and this means that you will spend a great deal of time helping mothers through their deliveries. Some mothers will become quite hungry as they wait for their children to be born. Midwives should provide these mothers with healthy snacks that will help them through their birthing journeys. Keep reading to find out about the best foods to provide women in labor.
Offer Carbohydrate Snacks
Women can burn up to 50,000 calories when they go through labor, and this means that the entire process drains the body of energy. The body is prepared for this, but your client may feel drained and tired as they reach the end of their labor. This means that it can be incredibly difficult to exert energy to push when the baby is ready to be born. You can help mothers retain their energy by providing foods that can be easily digested and converted into usable calories.
Sugary foods can be easily digested by the body, but sweet snacks will typically leave mothers tired after they feel a short burst of energy. This is the case, because sugars are digested too quickly and blood sugar rises drastically once the food is consumed. Blood sugars then drop and energy levels fall as well. This means you should not provide sweets to a pregnant mother. Offer carbohydrates instead. Carbohydrates are made up of complex sugars that provide the body with more consistent energy as the sugars are digested, broken down, and converted into energy.
Consider Bland Foods
Some mothers may feel nauseous when they go through labor, so make sure to provide bland carbohydrates. Whole grain crackers, yogurt, bread, and cereal are all good foods to offer. Just make sure that the carbohydrate is not paired with a protein rich food. Proteins offer energy as well, but these foods take a long time to digest. This means they will sit in the stomach and possibly cause the mother to vomit.
If the mother does want a more filling snack, then suggest eggs or tofu. Both of these foods contain protein, but the protein is easier to digest than the amino acids in meat, nuts, and dairy foods.
Provide Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruits are considered healthy, easy to digest, and they will provide calories to replenish the energy that is exerted during labor. Some fruits are said to contain nutrients that will help with the labor process as well. Pineapples are one of these fruits, and they contain an enzyme called bromelain that can offer assistance.
Bromelain is an enzyme that breaks down proteins, and this can help to soften the cervix so that it is easier for the mother to go through the birthing process. Bromelain can also relax the muscles to reduce discomfort when contractions cause pain. The enzyme is destroyed when pineapples are heated, so make sure to offer fresh pineapple slices instead of canned varieties.
If your client is nauseous while in labor or if she vomits, then it is a good idea to offer foods that can reduce nausea. This will help to retain fluids so that dehydration does not occur and it will also help the mother keep food down so that calories can be used as energy. Apples are a good food for nausea, because they contain fiber. This fiber helps to absorb stomach acids to soothe the stomach discomfort.
Apples also contain vitamin C and this can help reduce infection risks once the mother gives birth. The B vitamins in the apples can boost the metabolism as well, so that stored fat and calories can be utilized more effectively to create energy.
If you are a midwife, then you probably need to spend several hours with mothers as they give birth. Some mothers will feel hungry when they go into labor, so make sure to provide healthy snacks that will help out during the birthing process.