As your due date approaches, you are probably thinking about things like finishing up the nursery, installing your car seat, and considering what to pack! One thing your doula might suggest is to also think about good snacks to have on-hand for early labor. During early labor we tell our clients to do three things:
That's it. That is everything you need to get through early labor, whether it lasts for days, or only hours.
Eat in early labor.
When you are eating in early labor, you want to think about things that will be light on the stomach (your digestive system slows down during labor), as well as things that are high in both protein and complex carbs. Think about the way a marathon runner prepares for a marathon! Even if you aren't super hungry, try to take small bites every 10 minutes or so to keep your body fueled. If you need some inspiration, see our list of snack ideas below.
Drink in early labor.
When you are choosing to think about what to drink, water is obviously a great go-to for staying hydrated. It is nice to also add some electrolytes and sugar for a little bit of an energy boost too, especially as your appetite starts to diminish as you progress in labor. We encourage everyone to take a sip after each contraction, if not more often! Good options include: gatorade, lemon water with a pinch of sea salt and honey, or coconut water.
Set aside a "going to the hospital" snack.
Whatever you decide sounds good, we suggest stashing a "going to the hospital" snack and drink in your fridge for those last few weeks. It should be something that is easy to grab, and you know right where it is. As you head to the hospital, this might be your last chance for some real food (and energy!) for a while! While you are at it, don't forget to set something aside for your partner too!
Here is a list of 12 early labor snack ideas to try:
- Nut butter on whole wheat toast.
- Cheese and crackers.
- Trail mix.
- Yogurt with fruit and/or granola on top.
- Turkey and cheese roll up.
- Apple slices and peanut butter.
- Carrot sticks and hummus.
- Protein shake with milk or a milk substitute.
- Celery with peanut butter and nuts or raisins ("ants on a log").
- Fruit smoothie with chia and/or yogurt.
- Kind Bars/Cliff Bars.
What did you eat and drink in early labor? We would love to add your suggestions to the list!