You should be allowed to eat and drink what you want during labor, say Cochrane Researchers. They carried out a systematic review of studies examining the practice of restricting food and fluid intake during labor and found no evidence for any risk for healthy women.
For many years eating and drinking during labor was thought to be dangerous and most obstetricians restricted what women in were allowed to eat and drink, due to concerns about fatal damage to the lungs caused by “Mendelson’s syndrome”, where regurgitated food is inhaled under general anesthesia during Cesarean sections.
The Cochrane Systematic Review, which included five studies and a total of 3130 women, looked at the evidence for restricting food and drink in women who were considered unlikely to need general anesthesia. They found no evidence of any risk associated with eating or drinking.
“Since the evidence shows no harms, there is no justification for restriciting eating and drinking by women who are at low risk of complications,” said lead researcher Mandisa Singata, who is based at the East London Hospital Complex in East London, South Africa. “Women should be able to make their own decisions about whether they want to eat or drink during labor, or not.”
Full citation: Singata M, Tranmer J, Gyte GML. Restricting oral fluid and food intake during labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD003930. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003930.