During early labor it’s beneficial to continue eating light and nourishing foods to keep energy up, but as sensations start to intensify food often becomes the last thing on a laboring woman’s mind.
Just like any other intense physical activity, staying hydrated throughout labor is also crucial. It’s especially important to ensure that the liquid you consume contains electrolytes. Electrolytes are required for muscle contractions and without them muscles become weak and contractions of the uterus can be less effective.
Electrolytes also regulate our nerve function, hydration, ph levels and blood pressure. Drinking labor-aid not only allows the body to work more efficiently during labor, it also helps with recovery after birth because electrolytes assist in rebuilding damaged tissue as well.
In preparation for birth I recommend assigning someone to “labor-aid duty”. Have your partner, doula or mother have you drink ½ cup every 15 minutes. Labor-aid contains sugars from healthy sources, but it doesn’t contain fat or protein, which can slow down the rate that our muscles use the energy supplied from the sugar. Labor is very energy intensive and your body uses the sugar quite quickly, so it’s important that your person on duty continues to offer you the drink at regular intervals so you can maintain your energy & endurance.
lemon lime labor-aid:
- 2 cups coconut water
- 1 cup water
- juice from 1 lemon
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
- ¼ tsp unrefined Himalayan salt
- optional: trace mineral/electrolyte drops
When to make it? You may not want to worry about making labor-aid once your labor begins, but it’s best when it’s fresh. Options...
- If you have the ingredients on hand, your “labor-aid duty” person could prepare it for you.
- Or you could juice the lemon & lime, add the honey, salt and optional mineral drops and then freeze in ice cube trays. Then when it's time, just add the concentrated cubes to the water & coconut water.
Also, make sure to have a few straws on hand! You’ll probably find yourself in various positions during labor and you may not want to move much. Having the labor-aid person on duty hold the straw to your lips will make it much easier to consume.