are you going to sneak food at the hospital? - Mothering Forums
1 2 
VBAC > are you going to sneak food at the hospital?
spu's Avatar spu 10:15 AM 09-21-2006
If you're planning a hospital vbac, are you going to sneak food and drinks? I'm delivering with midwives, and they said the hospital's policy (not necessarily the midwives' views) is no fod or drink for vbacs, but I got the impression I could feed myself discreetly... what would you eat/drink that would digest easily and give you energy? Do you havea snack bag packed?

warrior mama's Avatar warrior mama 10:47 AM 09-21-2006
I'm hoping for a homebirth but if I did have a hospital VBAC I would definately take a bag of light snacks just in case. I'd say they were for my dh if anyone asked. In labor for my first there was no way I wanted to eat and drink though.
Knittin' in the Shade's Avatar Knittin' in the Shade 10:53 AM 09-21-2006
yeah, I'll have a snack bag packed but not planning to use it during labor (usually I'm nauseous as heck so don't want to eat anyway!) But it'll have granola, protein bars, dried fruit, and then some herbal teas
stayathomecristi's Avatar stayathomecristi 11:40 AM 09-21-2006
Planning a homebirth here too, but I packed snacks last time for my hospital VBAC. If I was going to a hospital this time, I would do the same. Only thing is that I've become so militant, that I might not be sneaking

If someone "catches" you eating, you could always say, "I'll take your suggestion under advisement." and continue doing what you think your body is telling you to.

The reason they don't want you eating (which I'm sure you know) is that they don't want you to aspirate in the event that they need to do an emergency section. My argument is that I would rather have food that might stay in my stomach than to aspirate plain, old, stomach acid which would burn my lungs. I just found out that at our local hospital they don't all ANY mamas to eat during labor. I think that's sad.

If you stay home as long as you can before you go in, you can eat and drink at will without having to sneak. By the time you go in, you probably won't feel like eating anyway. KWIM?

I wish you well on your VBAC by the way!!!!
channelofpeace's Avatar channelofpeace 01:58 PM 09-21-2006
I had my vba2c a month ago and had a foley catheter induction. I went in at 7 in the morning and they told me not to eat from midnight on

I didn't listen Which turned out to be a good thing because i went in at 7 on a Thursday and didn't have him til 2:50 am Saturday. Good Lord, i would have been hungry. I had applesauce, muffins, lots of liquids, some cafeteria food that my hubby shared. I just did it when they were out of the room and made sure there were no poppy seeds from the muffin in my teeth when they came back
RosesArePurple's Avatar RosesArePurple 02:40 PM 09-21-2006
If you want to keep yopur stash small or hidden, you could make LabourAid and put it in a water bottle. What would they know?

You could bring energy gel. Like Clif Shot which is organic. That takes no room in your bags, and would give you a good energy boost without freaking the hospital out.
MommytoTwo's Avatar MommytoTwo 02:41 PM 09-21-2006
It wasnt a vbac but with my first I went in to be induced and the rule was no food or water. So I went in 7 am Tuesday and the baby wasnt born till Wednesday at 5 pm. Can you imagine. I snuck some food and and I was also stealing tomatoes off food trays in the hall.
KKmama's Avatar KKmama 06:42 PM 09-21-2006
I think one important thing is to make a serious effort to stay hydrated and nourished while you're laboring at home. I did this with both of my VBACs (Z and L)... It's good for your laboring anyway, but if you know they are going to deny you once you get to the hospital...

And yes, I did eat and drink in labor, both times. The first time, I had a really long labor (a good portion of it at the hospital, because I needed some pain relief after the first 24 hrs or so), and my doula was giving me energy gel when the nurses were out of the room. The 2nd labor was much quicker, and I arrived at the hospital at 9 cm, so it wasn't an issue.
oregonbound's Avatar oregonbound 09:19 PM 09-21-2006
I brought crackers and I did start feeling hungry when I was at the hospital so I would have my husband sneak them to me while the nurse was out of the room. I also had lemonade but it left an awful taste in my mouth. What is Labor Aide?

mom to 2 and 1 on the way!
roadfamily6now's Avatar roadfamily6now 09:32 PM 09-21-2006
That is a wonderful idea. Especially if you are there for a number of hours.
I never understood the reason behind starving a laboring women!
richella's Avatar richella 02:07 AM 09-22-2006
Where I had dd, no one was allowed to eat, but I could drink as much water as I wanted. I sneaked food in and at one point I ate half an energy bar and nearly vomited it back up. I would have been really embarrassed if that happened. fortunately by the time I did vomit it must have been completely digested, only green bile came out. But starving was one of the reasons for my c/s, after 35 hrs of no food, I couldn't imagine that I would have the energy when it came time to push.
RosesArePurple's Avatar RosesArePurple 05:35 AM 09-22-2006
Originally Posted by oregonbound View Post
What is Labor Aide?

mom to 2 and 1 on the way!
From Dr. Sears

* 1/3 cup lemon juice
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Salt
* 1/4 tsp. baking soda
* 1-2 calcium tablets, crushed,Add enough water to make one quart. You can add an additional eight ounces of water for a milder flavor, or you can flavor this blend with your favorite juice.

It's the same or nearly the same as what my midwife's office says.
GoodMomma's Avatar GoodMomma 05:11 PM 09-22-2006
While in labor with my son, I wasn't allowed anything but ice pops and juice. After more then a day of hardly progressing, they allowed me a meatball sub. It was yummy!!! Right after they inserted cervidil so everything went really fast after that and I ended up puking it up. : So if I was able to eat small snacks throughout the whole process, that probably wouldn't of happened.... so yes I'm sneaking food this time.
Mihelinka's Avatar Mihelinka 10:04 AM 09-23-2006
You CAN refuse just about anything at a hospital, including the NO food thing. I'm taking food for both myself & dh. Ener-G packets for me to put in water, some type of gatoraid dring, crackers, protein bars, snacks for dh.
I'd rather eat/drink a lettle than have to get a glucose IV if i'm depleted
lexbeach's Avatar lexbeach 10:17 AM 09-23-2006
I'll be allowed to eat/drink during labor at the birthing center/hospital I'm going to, but my PLAN is to not get there until past the point in labor where I would want to eat anyway. For vbacs, I think it's especially important to try to labor at home as long as possible.

If I was in your situation, I would sneak food if needed. My doula said that she's seen a bite of yogurt do a world of good. The only thing I would avoid would be nuts since they are really no fun to aspirate (this happened to a friend of mine in labor. . . and to my son (obviously HE wasn't in labor at the time)). And take small bites so as not to overwhelm your system.

But, basically, I think you should stay home past the point of wanting to eat anything.


Turkish Kate's Avatar Turkish Kate 10:25 AM 09-23-2006
I had a hospital induction (Pitocin) with my daughter, 13 years ago. I went to the doctor's office in the morning and then stopped at home on the way to the hospital for the induction. While at home, I had some nice tea with toast and jam. When I was completing the admission paperwork and the nurse asked when I last ate, she was so angry that I had the nerve to eat something when I knew I was coming in for an induction. While I was in labor, a friend of ours snuck in some candy for me, was "caught" by the nurse, and summarily ejected from the labor ward. (Nice, eh?) Later, when I hit transition and was nauseous, this same nurse had the nerve to say something like, "I bet you wish you hadn't eaten anything now!" Needless to say, I had a few choice words for her, which would definitely violate the UA here. I hated her at that moment. Come to think of it, I'm not terribly fond of her 13 years later, either.
maxmama's Avatar maxmama 02:40 PM 09-23-2006
Don't have to sneak food @ my hospital. We feed all the early labor patients, and actives as they want. The only exception is if they get a block. So I may not get to labor (long story), but damn it, I'm going to eat!
Pandora114's Avatar Pandora114 02:45 PM 09-23-2006
Not a VBACer but I'll chime in

Go ahead and eat. WTH are they gonna do? Snatch the food out of your hand and pump charcoal down your gullet to make you puke it back up?

MommyDOK's Avatar MommyDOK 05:16 PM 09-23-2006
I had a hospital vbac w/out any problems. My doctor told me I could eat throughout labor.....but there was one problem, I forgot to bring food and I dislike "cafeteria" food. So don't forget to bring your food!!!
15yrsbetweenboys's Avatar 15yrsbetweenboys 05:53 PM 09-23-2006
I don't plan on taking anything with me-but then again, I don't plan on actually going into the hospital until I am close to transition LOL. I am going to labor as long as possible on the grounds (I live 45 minutes away-so I figure once I am there I can walk around and enjoy the pretty grounds while progressing) and will drink to thirst while I am doing it-and if I get hungry by golly I will eat

I got my butt chewed royally with my last one though-I ate 3 chocolate covered donuts (those little bitty ones) in the car on the way to the hospital and they acted like I had eaten an entire pizza! They said if my cs had not been a true emergency they would have postponed it until the donuts had time to digest............I was like-WTH??? If somebody is in an automobile accident and has just eaten, they still do surgery on them-what the heck is the difference??
richella's Avatar richella 03:33 AM 09-24-2006
If it had not been a true emergency, why would they be doing it?

I drank some water right before my c/s, and the nurse got a little freaked and said I would probably vomit it up, which I didn't. I was so dehydrated I'm sure my body sucked it up instantly. I was still thirsty 2 days later.
wifeandmom's Avatar wifeandmom 06:27 AM 09-24-2006
Originally Posted by richella View Post
If it had not been a true emergency, why would they be doing it?
If you are going for an ERCS and tell them you ate something after the allotted time frame, they'll post-pone surgery. If it's a c-section for breech or placenta previa, they'll post-pone. There are several reasons a woman might have a medically indicated c-section scheduled that aren't an EMERGENCY, as in, surgery does not have to take place at that very moment in order to save mom and/or baby from dying.

They tell you not to eat for x amount of time prior to surgery for your protection. Problem with that is when they treat ALL women in labor as a section waiting to happen. Of course, in many hospitals these days, that's not far from the truth.

Anyhow, I digress...

Being married to someone who does anesthesia for a living, my biggest piece of advice would be to BE HONEST with your anesthesia provider should the need arise for a c-section. Making the choice to eat 'against medical advice' isn't really that big of a deal in my mind as long as you know, understand, and accept the risks of doing so. If you end up puking everywhere, well, it's YOU that'll be puking, so I honestly don't see why they make quite the ordeal out of eating during labor that they do.

The risk of needing a crash c-section under general anesthesia (which is when the risk of aspriation is at its highest) is truly not that high to begin with, and I can certainly see where eating light snacks as tolerated makes more sense as long as there is no indication of a problem with mom/baby during labor.

BUT PLEASE....*IF* the time comes that a section is warranted, PLEASE tell the anesthesia folks what you've eaten, had to drink, how much, when it was, etc. They need to know this information to be able to treat you to the best of their ability during surgery, and lying to them is not going to do you any good (not that anybody suggested they'd lie if it came down to an emergency, but just as general precaution).

It is true that if you are in a car wreck on your way home from gorging yourself over a huge 8 course dinner, they'll operate on you despite this fact if your life depends upon it. HOWEVER, there are precautions they can/do take in those cases, and they will monitor you closer for signs of aspiration if it is known you went into surgery on a 'full stomach'.

All that said, for myself personally, when going in for ERCS, I adhere to the no food after midnight (or 8 hours prior to scheduled surgery) rule. I do *not* adhere to the nothing by mouth rule, as I will 'eat' ice chips up until they take me to the OR. Not gallons of them mind you, but I refuse to have NOTHING to quench my thirst, and it's a risk DH and I are both comfortable with me taking.

I also do not adhere to the 24 hour clear liquids after my sections. I eat whatever sounds good, usually in massive quantities as my horrid reflux is finally GONE after delivery. I had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a roll 3 hours after my second section. The nurse was horrified, but I knew my anesthetic history had never involved puking, I was STARVED, and I figured my body has ALWAYS been pretty good at sending off appropriate signals as to what I could/could not eat without getting sick. So I ate.

It's really a choice that has to be made ultimately by mom after considering why it is 'they' tell you not to eat/drink during labor, weighing the risks/benefits to yourself, and making a decision you feel comfortable with. I'd have dared that nurse to take my fried chicken after surgery. He'd have lost a hand I'm afraid.
ckhagen's Avatar ckhagen 05:21 PM 09-24-2006
With my first (38 hour induction ending in c-section) I was not "allowed" to eat. I came in earlyTuesday morning, was induced, ended with a c-section late Wednesday night. I remember dh sneaking me chips from the vending machine at some point because I was literally starving. I had the shakes from hunger prior to even having the c-section. Then, after the surgery, because I had so much gas buildup in my abdomen, they wouldn't let me eat (clear liquids only) until Friday afternoon!!! OMG. I had nothing but a handful of Cheetos and some chicken broth from 5am Tuesday morning until Friday around 4pm.

Never, ever would I let them do that to me again. I had serious milk supply issues from birth until about 8 months. Which I don't doubt may have had something to do with the fact that I had no calories for the 4 days surrounding the birth.

My VBAC wasn't in a hospital, so I ate. I didn't really feel like eating much as I was concentrating so hard on labor, but I did eat when I felt hungry. Towards the end of my labor (35 hours), I was exhausted and not hungry at all, but my m/w encouraged me to eat (mostly soft fruits) to help me regain some stamina.
jennkraig's Avatar jennkraig 05:24 PM 09-24-2006
If the worry is that you will aspirate something under general in an emergency c/s, well, isn't that why they stick a tube down your throat anyway? I mean, if they are doing that already to prevent the problem, why should a laboring woman go with out food if that is what she wants?
GalateaDunkel's Avatar GalateaDunkel 05:37 PM 09-24-2006
I REALLY hope to give birth in an environment where sneaking was not an issue.

When I was laboring at home the MW had to really push me to take anything, eating's just not where I was "at" either mentally or physically. Although objectively, I needed it. Having to sneak would probably be the straw that breaks the camel's back as far as motivation to eat. I tend to be a very open, compliant person (part of why I ended up with a c/s), and by nature I find it almost impossible not to be open and upfront with people, especially when I have other things to worry about (such as labor pains). One thing I learned from my first experience in a hospital was that strategies based on scheming, resistance and subterfuge (which is so much of what gets recommended when it comes to dealing with medpros) are not realistic for me and do not help me find my strength. I would not accept starvation though. Between that and open defiance I'd choose defiance. And if you were confident and had spouse/doula/friend support, combined with the fact that they cannot legally forbid you to eat, I think defiance would be just as effective as sneaking anyway, given how likely you are to get caught sneaking with all the people going in and out all the time....and again, "getting caught" is not a place of strength. "I'm an adult, I'll eat as I please" is.

ETA I have read, although I don't know how true it is, that there are no actual cases of fatal aspiration during c/s in the medical literature.
wifeandmom's Avatar wifeandmom 05:51 PM 09-24-2006
Originally Posted by jennkraig View Post
If the worry is that you will aspirate something under general in an emergency c/s, well, isn't that why they stick a tube down your throat anyway? I mean, if they are doing that already to prevent the problem, why should a laboring woman go with out food if that is what she wants?
They put the tube down your throat to deliver oxygen to your lungs. You can aspirate around the tube if your stomach contents come back up the espophagus and enter the lungs. The tube itself doesn't 'block' this from happening, and it can be life threatening if it occurs.
lexbeach's Avatar lexbeach 06:05 PM 09-24-2006
They don't like you to eat before any kind of surgery, even if you're just having an epidural/spinal. The epidural for my c-section made me super nauseous, and I probably would have thrown up during the surgery if I'd had anything to eat in the previous 8 hours. As it was, I started puking about 10 minutes after getting into the recovery room, and spent the whole day throwing up bile :

It would definitely not be pleasant to throw up during a c-section, even if you didn't then aspirate.

My friend who aspirated nuts at the end of her labor had a totally natural labor. Labor can make you puke too, and I guess there's a small risk of aspiration everytime you puke.

I still thinking eating during labor is a GOOD idea, but I can understand why there are rules against it in some hospitals. Most medical folks are always fearing the worst.

AmyLaz's Avatar AmyLaz 06:16 PM 09-24-2006
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
I still thinking eating during labor is a GOOD idea, but I can understand why there are rules against it in some hospitals. Most medical folks are always fearing the worst
I think they're also fearing lawsuits. It's so sad that so many hospital policies are based on the fear of malpractice suits
maxmama's Avatar maxmama 09:38 PM 09-24-2006
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
They put the tube down your throat to deliver oxygen to your lungs. You can aspirate around the tube if your stomach contents come back up the espophagus and enter the lungs. The tube itself doesn't 'block' this from happening, and it can be life threatening if it occurs.
What's the point then of using a cuffed v. uncuffed ET tube? Cuffed are a damn sight bigger, and I vividly remember being extubated with a cuffed tube.
wifeandmom's Avatar wifeandmom 12:24 AM 09-25-2006
Originally Posted by maxmama View Post
What's the point then of using a cuffed v. uncuffed ET tube? Cuffed are a damn sight bigger, and I vividly remember being extubated with a cuffed tube.

Had to wait for DH to get home for this one.

He says cuffed tubes are for adults, uncuffed are for peds.

Having the cuffed tube inflated DOES protect the airway from aspiration, BUT you put the patient under THEN insert the tube, leaving the opportunity for aspiration after patient is under but before tube is inserted and inflated.

There is also the risk of aspiration AFTER the tube is removed but before the patient is fully alert again.

Does that make sense?

Edited to add he said IF the tube is inflated exactly as it should be with no space whatsoever, the patient won't aspirate with it in place, but you are still left with the time before the tube is in place and after it is removed but before patient is alert that the concern for aspiration is highest, thus the no food or drink rule. Also, even the tiniest bit of error can allow liquid contents to enter the lungs, so it's just a whole lot simpler if patient has an empty stomach.
1 2