What To Eat Before Labor (9 Easy Foods To Try)

Are you pregnant, wondering what to eat and what not to eat before labor? If so, this article is for you. Labor and birth are hard physical work that requires a lot of energy.

As women, we tend to burn a lot of calories during labor, and to embark on this incredible journey, our body requires plenty of calorie intake.

Knowing what to eat before labor or what not to eat? is a question every pregnant woman should ask, and the answer depends on whom you’re talking to.

However, some practitioners still say no way to food once contractions begin, while other evidence suggests that eating during labor may be beneficial for women with low-risk pregnancies.

What To Eat Before Labor?

Labor takes a huge amount of energy, so it’s a good idea to know what to eat before labor and have them available on hand to help keep you going.

As with the rest of your pregnancy, it’s best to stick with healthy foods that will provide your body with the energy and nutrients needed while giving birth to your little one.

With some of the principles of sports nutrition and digestion, we’ve compiled some simple, accessible meal choices to either throw together last minute when those early contractions hit, or for you to keep in the freezer so they’re ready at the first pelvic ping.

Peanut Butter And Banana Sandwich

The carbohydrates content in bread and banana serves as an energy source, while a thin smear of protein from the nut butter will help prevent blood sugar crashes and hunger spells.

Protein Oats

Oatmeal is a fantastic source of carbohydrates for fueling your cardio workout. However, to give it a little more staying power, we suggest whipping some pasteurized egg whites into the mixture as it cooks. This can help keep you satiated for a long road ahead.

Mexican Loaded Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of carbohydrates with lots of potassium and iron. These two nutrients are often depleted during labor and delivery, making a good choice to consider.

Shrimp Rice Bowl

Rice is a great source of carbohydrates for energy, while the shrimp adds a low-fat protein for prolonged energy during a long labor.


Fresh fruit is refreshing, quick, easy snack to boost your energy level during labor. Banana, known for being easy on the stomach, is one of the best pre-labor fruits, but any fruit will boost your energy, so eat the ones you like best.

However, avoid orange because of its acidity nature which may cause an upset stomach or burning if vomiting occurs after consumption.

Frozen Red Raspberry Ice Cubes With Honey

Natural Raspberry leaf tea is wonderful throughout pregnancy and during labor; it helps stimulate strong, productive contractions.

Nuts And Seeds

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to be found in nuts and seeds. This helps in the neurological and brain development of the baby. Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, and Quinoa are some of my favorites for labor preparation.

Pumpkin Seeds are very dense in minerals (iron, zinc, and magnesium), proteins, and EFA’s (Essential fatty acids). There are also other compounds (phytonutrients) in pumpkin seeds that can be beneficial during labor.

Research has shown that compounds in pumpkin seeds help regulate insulin levels, which is beneficial for those with insulin resistance or gestational diabetes in pregnancy (PCOS clients).

Sunflower Seeds are rich in the vitamin B complex. These vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system and are also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, protein, and vitamin E.

Vitamin E is great for tissue softness and progesterone function and makes up a portion of the nutrients found in amniotic fluid. Low Vitamin E levels are associated with preterm labor.

Almonds are edible seeds of Prunus dulcis, rich in Vitamin E and minerals (magnesium, potassium, copper). They provide rich amounts of EFA’s, especially Linoleic acid, which is necessary for prostaglandin production.

Quinoa is a complete protein, providing the body with all 9 essential amino acids.


This is the best nutrient-dense meat source for all reproductive health (prenatal, labor, and postpartum). The liver is full and easy to absorb. It contains Iron and all of the B Vitamins (super high in B12 and Folate), Vitamins A, D, E, K, and CoEnzyme Q10.


This can be referred to as either plant or fruit. Melons are great for increasing amniotic fluid levels. Melons like Cucumber and Watermelon contain high amounts of electrolyte trace minerals.

These minerals can increase the amount of water absorbed by double the same volume of water. Maintaining hydration is highly important because towards the end of pregnancy.

Know that hydration becomes difficult since you do not only need to consume enough water for your daily body needs but also for that of your baby and the constantly replenishing amniotic fluid your baby lives in.

Read Also: What To Eat To Get Pregnant With Twins Faster

Factors To Consider While Eating Before Labor

As with the rest of your pregnancy, excitement or uneasiness may lessen your appetite. This is why it’s best to stick with healthy foods that provide your body with the energy and nutrients needed while giving birth to your baby.

Below are the facts you should know when it comes to eating before, during, and after labor.

  • Eat when you are hungry, rather than wait until later.
  • Eating little and often will help to sustain your energy level.
  • High sugar foods provide a temporary burst of energy. Try eating whole grain carbohydrates instead of a slower release supply.
  • Eating larger snacks or meals may make you feel nauseous.
  • Food should be easy to prepare, easy to eat, and easy to digest. This factor can help you feel better as labor progresses.
  • Bite-sized portions are ideal.
  • You may be asked to avoid eating or drinking if a cesarean birth is likely.
  • Pack plenty; your partner may need some snacks, too, as you may not want them to leave you to go in search of food.
  • Not too spicy or greasy food is a good thing to keep in mind in case you feel nauseous and may vomit during labor.
  • There’s no right or wrong in eating in labor, so listen to your body and respond duly.

Read Also: How Many Squats To Induce Labor (Explained)

10 Foods To Avoid During Labor

Oranges Or Orange Juice

The acidity of the orange may cause stomach upset or burning if vomiting occurs after consumption.

High-Mercury Fish

High mercy fish includes Shark, Swordfish, King mackerel, and Tuna (especially albacore tuna). Remember, Mercury is a highly toxic element.

High Sugar And Fat Foods

Avoid foods like doughnuts, pastries, or cakes. These foods are high in sugar which may give you instant energy but will leave you feeling tired and nauseous once your energy peaks.

Undercooked Or Raw Fish

Undercooked fish especially shellfish, can cause a risk of infections.

Undercooked Raw Meat

Undercooked raw and processed meat can also increase the risk of infection.

Raw Eggs

Foods that include raw eggs should be avoided. This includes cake icing, salad dressing, hollandaise sauce, and lightly scrambled eggs.


High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been shown to restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery. Pregnant women are advised to limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg daily, about 2–3 cups of coffee.

Unpasteurized Milk

Pregnant women should not consume unpasteurized milk or cheese as these foods increase the risk of bacterial infections. However, to lessen the risks of infection, pregnant are advised to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juice.

Processed Junk Food

These foods are generally low in nutrients and contain high calories, sugar, and added fats. As a pregnant woman consuming processed foods can increase your risk of excess weight gain, gestational diabetes, and complications. This can even have long-term health implications for your child.

Read Also: What to wear during water birth (11 clothing ideas)

What Should I Drink When I Am In labor?

What should I drink when am in labor

Now you’re aware of what to eat during labor and what not to eat, it’s important to stay hydrated during labor.

In Early Stage

Drinking enough water during labor will help you stay hydrated. However, a small sip of chicken or bone broth, which contains a high rich nutrient, can assist with nausea.

Also, Coconut water which contains magnesium, potassium, and electrolytes, is another good option to consider for keeping hydrated.

In The Active Stage

Drinking lemon-lime labor helps your body to work more efficiently during labor. More so, it helps recover after birth because electrolytes assist in rebuilding damaged tissue.

These electrolytes are required for muscle contractions; without them, muscles become weak, and contractions of the uterus can be less effective.

Why Is One Advised To Stay Off Foods During Labor?

Often your doctor might advise you to suspend eating food if C-section is required to deliver your baby.

This is because if you eat a heavy meal and go for anesthesia, there is a possibility that food may enter the windpipe through the digestive tract when you remain unconscious.

Although most C-sections are done with spinal or local anesthesia, such a probability is not considered. But if you have to undergo general anesthesia due to complications, remember to inform your doctor earlier about what you ate. This can help prevent an unforeseen incident during delivery.

Read Also: Can I Drink Apple Cider Vinegar When Pregnant? 10 Health Benefits 


As a new mom, welcoming a new baby is exciting and also can be overwhelming. Since labor and birth require an extraordinary amount of energy, knowing what to eat before labor is important.

Ensure you provide your body with the nourishment and good quality energy-giving food it needs during labor as this will help you run that labor and birth marathon with strength and power. If you have questions or have other suggestions, kindly share them with us.

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