Protein Shakes During Labor and Delivery

Posted on October 18 2013

In the past, women have been discouraged from eating any food during labor because of the risk of aspiration in the event that they could require an emergency c-section. For years, laboring mothers were all but banned from consuming anything beyond ice chips and water during labor and delivery. However, a new study has shown that it is completely safe for women to consume another form of sustenance while giving birth:  a protein shake.

According to Dr. Manual C. Vallejo, professor and chair of the department of anesthesiology at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, “Under anesthesia, people lose their protective reflexes, including gag reflex so whatever is in the stomach could be aspirated into the lungs which could be deadly for the moms.”

Despite the concerns of aspiration, Vallejo couldn't help but wonder if women could benefit from consuming something more substantial than just water and ice chips alone. After all, labor is very strenuous and some moms can be in labor for up to 24 hours! Providing laboring women with something healthy that could help them keep their energy levels up and blood sugar levels on par seemed more natural.

During the study, Vallejo evaluated 150 pregnant woman to see whether protein shakes improved their overall labor experience. Researchers gave half of the women in the study only ice chips and water during labor while the other half received a 325-ml, 160 calorie Premier Nutrition Protein Shake in addition to ice and water. Overall, the women who drank the protein shakes reported higher maternal satisfaction throughout the delivery process compared to those who only consumed water and ice chips and posed no significant risk of aspiration.

Although laboring women should always consult their doctor prior to drinking a protein shake, Vallejo said that it should be completely safe for most healthy mothers and it could make the overall labor and delivery experience much more pleasant.

Having a baby is one of life’s most memorable for both parents. A protein shake could easily be added to your delivery kit helping to make your labor and the delivery the most positive experience it can be.


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