Tinto logo

Can you really not eat during labour?

You might have heard that it’s not a good idea to eat during labour. But is this really true? Simply put, not really. You probably can eat during labour, with just a couple of exceptions.

Labour is like running a marathon, so staying energised is really important. In fact, some evidence suggests that eating and drinking can actually speed up labour. We're not talking a full roast dinner, but eating light snacks and staying hydrated is a good idea.⁠ ⁠

So where did the idea that you couldn't eat come from? The rationale is that if you have to go under general anaesthetic to have a C-section, you'd be more likely to vomit if you've eaten, which can be dangerous.

But this is unlikely to be a problem, as the vast majority of C-sections happen under local anaesthetic instead.⁠ If you have to have an unplanned C-section, you will be advised not to eat from that moment on just in case.

The only other reason you'd not be able to eat is if you'd like to have opioid pain relief like morphine or pethidine, again because you're more likely to vomit.⁠

Otherwise, crack out the snacks and crack on!