While such an exciting time, labor and delivery require a lot of hard work. Childbirth has even been compared to running a marathon in research. Your body needs good nutrition to keep up the energy needed to push a new human being out. In some cases, you will find that eating and drinking during labor is a controversial subject but there can be many benefits. Eating and drinking during labor can help fuel the body, replenish lost nutrition, and keep you from being absolutely exhausted.
So, when you’re stocking your hospital bag and prepping for the big day, here are some of the best snacks to pack for pregnant women to eat during labor and after delivery.
20 Best Snacks For During Labor and After Delivery
Did you know that dates may help improve labor? According to some research and reviews, dates may help induce labor naturally, shorten the time in labor, increase cervix dilation, and provide energy. Dates also contain many vitamins and nutrients that can help replenish the body. It’s safe to consume dates throughout your whole pregnancy and you can also enjoy them as a light snack before, during, or after labor.
Trail mix is a healthy snack during labor because it is chock full of protein and natural sugars for energy. It also contains plenty of vitamins and minerals for nutrient replacement. Not sure what to put in your trail mix? Try almonds, walnuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips, and pretzels!
Like dates, bananas are a quick source of carbohydrates for energy. Bananas are also a great source of potassium, an electrolyte that can be lost in your sweat during labor and delivery. They are also a good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. If you are in early labor or after delivery, pair your banana with some protein like trail mix, jerky, nut butter, or Greek yogurt.
Natural sugars from fruits like bananas, apples, and grapes are great sources of fast-acting energy. Frozen grapes, in particular, can be a refreshing and replenishing snack for mothers working hard during labor. Grapes are also a powerful source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium. They also work great with nuts or a cheese stick!
Apple slices are a great snack during all stages of pregnancy, even down to labor and delivery or afterward. Apples are a great source of energy because they contain carbs and natural sugars, as well as other nutrients like vitamin C. Nuts or nut butter paired with apple slices, provide a few grams of protein to give you a satisfying boost too!
Like frozen grapes, frozen or regular blueberries are a nourishing and replenishing snack during labor. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Eat them on their own or throw some frozen blueberries into Greek yogurt for a delicious and balanced snack packed with protein.
For a quick boost of protein and energy during labor, grab a hard-boiled egg. Hard-boiled eggs are typically light and easy on the stomach and easy to digest. Just one hard-boiled egg contains about 6 grams of protein.
Peanut Butter or Nut Butter
Nut butters, including peanut butter, are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. The small packets of nut butter can be a quick and convenient snack to pack in your bag for during labor or after delivery. You can eat nut butter plain, on apple slices, mixed into yogurt, or in a peanut butter sandwich!
Snack or Protein Bars
It is true it’s ideal to avoid some protein or snack bars with added sugars and artificial ingredients. However, many bars can be a great snack during labor or immediately after delivery. Protein and snacks bars are super easy to pack, they can be packed with protein and carbs for an energy boost, and they contain other nutrients like fiber to help promote regularity and fight constipation too.
If you’re looking for a snack during labor that is easy on the stomach, try greek yogurt! It is chock full of protein to keep you energized. Greek yogurt is also super versatile because you can add a variety of toppings or none at all. Nuts, fruit, or nut butter all work stirred into Greek yogurt.
Muffins, while not always super nutrient-dense, are a great source of carbs and natural sugars if energy is feeling low during labor and delivery. They are also easy to pack in your bag and usually light and easy on the stomach too.
Whole Grain Crackers
Whole-grain crackers are super easy on the stomach. This is an excellent choice as a snack if you find that you are struggling with nausea during labor but need some fuel. They contain complex carbohydrates to keep energy levels up and they can be combined with all types of other foods for an extra protein boost like cheese, peanut butter, or hard-boiled eggs.
Like whole-grain crackers, pretzels are another snack that is very easy on the stomach and they can provide plenty of carbs for energy. These can also be combined with trail mix, nut butter, cheese sticks, jerky, or hard-boiled eggs for a more filling and protein-rich snack!
Drinking a fruit smoothie is a great way to replenish vitamins and nutrients as well as pack in carbs and protein to prevent fatigue during labor and delivery. Smoothies can also help keep expecting mothers hydrated and refreshed during those long hours of labor. This may be a snack you have in early labor, before heading to the hospital, and can include all types of fruit, spinach, kale, protein powder, and more!
While mainly a breakfast food, oatmeal can also be a warm and filling snack or meal choice during the early stages of labor or after delivery. Oatmeal contains fiber and plenty of carbohydrates to push through those long hours of labor. To amp up the power of your oatmeal, add in protein powder, collagen peptides powder, nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt, or nut butter!
If you have the time to whip up a snack before you head to the hospital (or alternate place of birth), avocado toast is the way to go. Avocados are very nutritionally dense containing folate, magnesium, potassium, healthy fats, and more! This snack will provide carbs and healthy fats for long-lasting energy and potassium to fight cramps too.
Fresh hummus is a light, delicious, and nutritionally dense spread that is made with chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and other spices. It contains a few grams of protein, potassium, carbs, and is easily digested, making it a good snack during labor. Try spreading hummus on toast or whole-grain crackers or feel free to use it as a dip for freshly cut and washed vegetables. Just remember to thoroughly clean all vegetables and follow all food safety guidelines when preparing this snack.
Coconut water is one of the best drinks to consume during labor as it helps to replenish fluids and electrolytes as well as provides some natural sugar to combat fatigue. It has a mild taste, it’s easy on the stomach, and it’s a natural source of electrolytes. I highly recommend picking up some coconut water or another low-sugar electrolyte beverage for your big day!
Other Electrolyte Beverages
During labor, it’s important for expectant mothers to stay hydrated and a great way to do this is to alternate water with electrolyte replenishing drinks. There are many electrolyte beverage options to choose from on the market. Ideally, look for one low in added sugars and free from artificial sweeteners.
Dehydration can actually slow labor, so it’s important to make sure you maintain a healthy fluid intake. Lemonade sometimes called “labor-aid”, is an excellent source of hydration, minerals, electrolytes, and some quick sugars and carbs for energy.
Snacks for your hospital bag!
When packing snacks for your hospital bag, it’s important to choose snacks and drinks that are easily digested, packed with protein, and that keeps you hydrated. When deciding on what snacks to pack, you may want to bring a variety of options as you never know what food aversions you may have during labor or how long it’ll last.
It’s also best to steer clear of new foods and stick with something your body typically responds well to. I wish you the best of luck during labor and I hope this roundup of the best snacks for labor helps you feel more prepared for your big day! And for more information about nutrition for labor prep be sure to join The Prenatal Nutrition Library. We have more support waiting for you!