Food drink during labour

It’s time to start preparing for your delivery. One of the most important to-dos as your third trimester comes to an end is to pack your hospital bag. Find out when you should start packing and what it should include below. You should have your hospital bag ready at least four weeks before your due date – just in case. Leave it somewhere easily accessible so you can grab it easily and go whenever you need to. Packing your bag really helps to keep you busy and focused and of course, you’ll be well-prepared for the birth too! We’ve put together a list of things that lots of mums find useful to have with them. We hope that it helps but if you have any other questions contact our team for more advice. Your hospital bag checklist Having the perfectly packed bag to help get you through the birth in the hospital is something that lots of mums ask about. You’ll want to be prepared during labour and you’ll need things for your newborn baby afterwards, but try not to over pack! The first stage of labour can be long, so take something to keep you entertained, like magazines or an mp3 player. A cosy, clean dressing gown or nightie to wear after the birth will help you to feel more comfortable as well. It’s a good idea to take some loose, comfy clothes and a pair of flat shoes to go home in too. Other things to pack include lip balm, a hair band (if you’ve got long hair), socks, snacks like dried fruit or cereal bars, maxi sanitary pads, unscented toiletries, and a camera. As for your new baby, they’ll need nappies, a blanket, socks, a vest and an outfit that goes on easily and doesn’t need to be tugged over their head. Follow the checklist below to help pack your hospital bag. There’s no need to take too much, your stay should be quite short and, if you do need extra, friends or family can get things for you. For Labour: Your birth plan Hospital notes (if you have them) Change for the car park and money for snacks Nightie, dressing gown, cosy socks and slippers Contact lenses and spare glasses (if you have them) Magazines or iPod/mp3 player A watch with a second hand to time your contractions Hair tie/band (if you have long hair) Water spray (for cooling yourself down during labour) Lip balm Cereal bars or dried fruit for an energy boost Frozen drinks After Labour: Hot water bottle (for pain relief) Massage oil (for pain relief) Eye mask, if you have trouble sleeping with the lights on Toothbrush, toothpaste and unscented toiletries Maxi sanitary pads Nursing bras and breast pads A v-shaped pillow (can help make baby feeding more comfy) Essentials for your baby including nappies, blanket, socks, vest, hat and something that goes on easily and doesn’t really need to be tugged over their head Phone numbers of friends and family Camera Lots of change or phone cards to make calls if they don’t let you use mobiles in the hospital Comfy clothes and flat shoes to go home in

Your body uses up a lot of energy during labour so you will need to eat and drink small amounts of food to keep up your strength and prevent dehydration. Here’s a guide to the best foods to consume during labour.


It used to be thought that eating during labour was a bad idea and only energy-boosting liquids were allowed, but things have changed. You’re now advised to eat light snacks whenever you feel like it in order to boost up your energy. It’s a good idea to plan out in advance what you think you’ll want so that you have it to hand when the time comes. As always, our team is happy to give you further advice and information.

How eating during labour builds up your energy ?

Unless you’re a regular marathon runner, you’ll probably be burning up more energy during labour than at any other time in your life. Try and build up your reserves while you’re in early labour, by having a little snack every so often. Once your contractions become stronger you’ll probably find you’re not that hungry anyway.

What can I have to eat?

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It’s recommended that you go for carbohydrates which give a slow release of energy, so choose things like bread, crispbreads, rice cakes, pasta, rice, dried fruit, bananas and cereals bars.

You can also have clear broths, milky puddings, low fat yoghurts, and cooked fruits like apple sauce. Avoid acidic fruit juice flavours like orange or grapefruit.

For quick energy, try spoonfuls of honey, pieces of chocolate or sweet tea. But avoid having too much sugar – after the initial rush of energy wears off you can start to feel quite low.

You can also have dextrose tablets, which release energy gradually and are easy to eat. Try some a few weeks before your due date to find your favourite flavour!

What can I have to drink?

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Being in labour is thirsty work, so make sure you drink plenty of water to keep you well hydrated throughout. You can also add squash to the water, or try juices such as apple or mango. Some herbal tea with added honey is delicious too and the natural sweetness in the honey will give you a boost.

Fizzy drinks and fruit juices, such as orange and grapefruit, are not a good idea because they contain a lot of acid which can make you feel sick. Some hospitals recommend sports drinks designed for athletes instead, because they’re quickly absorbed and give you instant energy. Ask your doctor for recommendations if you’re still feeling uncertain.

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