Go to this website:http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi...urnalCode=jogn
It is the abstract of a 1999 study on the effect of fasting in labor. Here is an excerpt:Data Synthesis:
Research does not support restricting food and fluids in labor to prevent gastric aspiration. Restricting oral intake during labor has unexpected negative outcomes.Conclusions:
Little is known about the differences in labor progress, birth outcomes, and neonatal status between mothers who consume food and/or fluids during labor and women who fast during labor. Research also is needed on the effects of epidural opioids on gastric emptying, nutritional requirements during labor, and the physiologic implications of fasting during labor. Fasting during labor is a tradition that continues with no evidence of improved outcomes for mother or newborn. Many facilities (especially birth centers) do not restrict eating and drinking. Across the United States, most hospitals restrict intake, usually to ice chips and sips of clear liquids. Anesthesia studies have focused on gastric emptying, measured by various techniques, presuming that delayed gastric emptying predisposes women to aspiration. Narcotic analgesia delays gastric emptying, but results are conflicting on the effect of normal labor and of epidural anesthesia on gastric emptying. The effect of fasting in labor on the fetus and newborn and on the course of labor has not been studied adequately. Only one study evaluated the probable risk of maternal aspiration mortality, which is approximately 7 in 10 million births. END EXCERPT
As a doula, with my hospital moms, I always support them at home as long as possible (they eat and drink as much as they like) and then we always bring snacks, such as apple and bananna slices, whole grain bread/crackers, cheese cubes, and carrot sticks, plus plenty of filtered water, to the hospital with us and mom takes bites and sips whenever the nurse is not in the room. WARNING, RANT!
This is one of my pet peeves. The research clearly shows that eating and drinking in labor is not harmful, and I know that reduced blood sugar will produce fatigue and low spirits in a laboring mom. She's doing the hardest work she'll ever do in her life--come on people, she needs food and water! Athletes will not run a marathon without something in their body, but hospitals demand that women do much harder work with an empty gas tank. But like I always say, doctors/hospitals do not do evidence based practice; they do tradition based practice. Thus they accept the 1949 study and ignore the 1999 study, simply because tradition dictates that women should not eat in labor. END RANT
I hope this is helpful!!