Midwives: what are your most recommended labor and postpartum foods, and why? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-15-2011, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Let me preface this by saying that I truly believe only a laboring mama will instinctively know what her body needs to eat and drink during labor and postpartum.

 

However, at about 60% of the births I've recently attended, moms were bringing foods like potato chips, cookies, applesauce, and the like to their births.  They brought fruit juices and Gatorade to drink.  For postpartum meals, they'd either heat up a store-bought frozen dinner or get take-out, which was usually pizza or McDonalds. duh.gif

 

Granted, I was apprenticing at a birth center in a moderately conservative area where alternative birth practices and healthy eating are not the norm, but still, I feel that laboring and new, breastfeeding mamas need to keep eating nutritious foods...not go back to eating junk once baby is earthside.

 

So...I was wondering what kinds of foods you all usually recommend to your clients eat during labor and for their postpartum meal.  I have heard some midwives tell their clients to eat simple carbs during labor and a hearty meal with meat postpartum.  I have heard other midwives tell their clients to eat protein during early labor, and complex carbs during active labor but before pushing.  I've heard mamas should only eat fruit during labor and that everything else is too hard to digest.

 

My general rule of thumb to mamas is to eat whatever looks and sounds appealing, and won't feel too horrible if it has to come back up.

 

There is a student in my class who plans on having all her newly postpartum mamas drink a superfood smoothie as their postpartum meal.

 

So far...I plan on recommending mamas drink water and coconut water during labor...eat non-acidic fruits and soft proteins (yogurt, peanut/almond butter, cheeses) during labor, and then a light but nutrient and iron rich meal postpartum (such as an Indian spiced dish like palak paneer over brown rice or baked steel-cut oats with coconut milk, almonds, and fruit).

 

What about you all?  What do you think are the best foods a mama could eat during labor and postpartum, and why?


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#2 of 11 Old 02-15-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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Fried egg and cheese sandwich.  Good for early labor and definitely great for postpartum.  Good protein and carbs, not a huge meal.


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#3 of 11 Old 02-16-2011, 07:03 AM
 
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Easy to digest foods are what I recommend. Things like toast, yogurt, fruit, soup, etc. I tend to have women who do not want to eat anything after the birth and so insisting that they munch on a piece of toast and sip some juice usually works to bring back their appetite. I, personally, am not too worried about what they eat, so long as they eat.


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#4 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I was just about to say stuff like toast, yogurt, an easy to digest protein of some sort.

 

I can tell you what is not good, from client experience, Taco Bell or KFC. puke.gif


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#5 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 08:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Carolinamidwife View Post

I was just about to say stuff like toast, yogurt, an easy to digest protein of some sort.

 

I can tell you what is not good, from client experience, Taco Bell or KFC. puke.gif



Or McDonalds


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#6 of 11 Old 02-22-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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I tell people to bring whatever they really like.  If they hate the food, there's no way we'll get any of that into them in labor. 

I usually suggest probably the very crap you're complaining about - chips, candy, wheat thins, nuts, yogurt, clif bars, anything tasty and that can be eaten in small bites. 

For liquids, I want something with calories and electrolytes available.  She can drink whatever tastes/feels good, but if she's getting dehydrated, she needs to have something tasty pre-purchased (gatorade (only if you've tasted it first, some people, like me, hate it!), recharge (natural style gatorade), emergency, coconut water, fruit juice, etc). 

 

For post partum, a "real" meal.  At least a sandwich, burrito, or, popular lately, frozen mac-n-cheese.  The only 24 hour restaurants close to the birth center are taco bell and denny's, which is fine, but it means sparing a support person, which  many women don't want to loose. 

 

I DO NOT feel like it is my job to critique the food choices of my clients.  If it's working for them, it's working.  I am always willing to make suggestions, IF asked. 

I have thriving clients who eat paleo and thriving clients who are vegan.  Who is to say what another person's ideal food is?  I certainly eat both McDonald's and KFC on occasion.  And drink diet coke. 


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#7 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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  Who is to say what another person's ideal food is?  I certainly eat both McDonald's and KFC on occasion.  And drink diet coke. 


I am not criticizing those who eat McDonalds.My love of fast food taco places should put me to shame (but it doesn't). If there was anyway that I could live on candy, soda, and chips without it affecting my health then I would be a very happy lady! I had to give all those things up this past summer due to my health and sometimes I feel like my best friend died.

 

I was at a birth center for a great deal of time that had a McDonalds down the road and so EVERYONE ate it during labor and postpartum (so this comment was more of a joke.... anyone who has been to Casa knows that place smells like birth and McDonalds). However, I also saw a lot of burgers and fries come right back out.... it can be a bit heavy and greasy. Seriously, the association in my brain between birth and McDonalds is so great that when I drive past the golden arches and catch a whiff, I feel like I should be seeing a baby born any moment :)


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#8 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm...I was looking for food recommendations for labor and postpartum.  Most mamas ask me what kinds of foods they should bring.  I was simply looking for suggestions.

 

However, I kinda DO feel like it's my job to "critique" the food choices of birthing mamas.  Critiquing, however, is very different from criticizing, and I believe that this food planning should be done prenatally.  I'm obviously not gonna tell a mama who is happily enjoying a pizza (in fact, pizza can be a pretty complete meal) in labor that she's doing anything "wrong".  But...if all she brings to the birth is popsicles and then she's obviously suffering from a sugar crash and in need of nourishment, I will then find her something more substantial to eat.

 

I'm not a health food nazi or anything...but I've seen what inadequate nourishment can do to a mama in labor, and I don't feel like it's a bad thing to suggest (prenatally) some yummy, easily digestible, and healthy foods to bring for labor and postpartum.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane View Post

 

I DO NOT feel like it is my job to critique the food choices of my clients.  If it's working for them, it's working.  I am always willing to make suggestions, IF asked. 

I have thriving clients who eat paleo and thriving clients who are vegan.  Who is to say what another person's ideal food is?  I certainly eat both McDonald's and KFC on occasion.  And drink diet coke. 




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#9 of 11 Old 02-23-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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Banana, yogurt, toast, peanut butter balls (peanut butter, honey, raisins), luna bars, green smoothies. Things like that. However, they can eat whatever they want. My MIL is Italian so at my homebirth she made speghetti and home made sauce for everyone for dinner. Was yummy going down, not yummy vise versa.


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#10 of 11 Old 02-24-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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"I was at a birth center for a great deal of time that had a McDonalds down the road and so EVERYONE ate it during labor and postpartum (so this comment was more of a joke.... anyone who has been to Casa knows that place smells like birth and McDonalds). However, I also saw a lot of burgers and fries come right back out.... it can be a bit heavy and greasy. Seriously, the association in my brain between birth and McDonalds is so great that when I drive past the golden arches and catch a whiff, I feel like I should be seeing a baby born any moment :)"

 

 

Um, yes, that is exactly what I meant. I have seen the last bite of KFC get swallowed and come directly back up. Greasy food and the hormonal swings associated with labor are not a good combo. And also, eating crap is not a good way to power your body for the work of birth.

 

And wombjuice, ITA that it can be our jobs to critique food, totally. I am not a health food fanatic either and I certainly do not expect my clients to live up to unreasonable expectations but I don't consider fast food a safe option for eating during pregnancy. I think you would be hard pressed to find a nutritionist who would say fast food is acceptable for anyone ever.


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#11 of 11 Old 02-24-2011, 12:40 PM
 
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Ok, I didn't realize the McD and KFC were in labor.  I have so much trouble getting any food into women in labor!  Like, someone is smelling ketone-ish, and I can barely get 1/2 a yogurt in birdie-style.  Or a few nuts or a few bites of clif bar.  The labor space is usually littered with one-bite-taken food, as something appealed only until it touched her tongue. 

I was thinking more post-partum.  KFC sounds pretty good after that hard work. 


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