Fuel for a marathon...and labour?
Would sports gels/drinks help in labour?
, Apr 30 2012 03:23 PM
18 replies to this topic
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:23 PM
So I've often heard that labour is much like running a marathon*. Except often much longer, and harder, particularly as pregnancy has already taken a large toll on a woman's body.
As a runner, I'm always interested in getting more out of my runs. I was reading that a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that energy and electrolyte drinks and gels can increase endurance by up to 13%, as they provide easily accessible glucose to working muscles.
I know some women can eat and drink in labour quite easily but for those who might find it difficult, these drinks/gels can be very easy to consume and digest, particularly when your body is under stress. And maybe after the birth, choosing foods high in carbs and protein could help post-labour recovery.
Would this sort of thing help in labour by reducing muscle fatigue and maybe pain? Has anyone tried it? Would you choose different foods (not even necessarily sports ones) in labour to fuel you if you started thinking about labour being like a marathon?
Has anyone seen any research on this topic?
Food for thought.
*I haven't experienced labour first hand, if that makes a difference. But I'd like to try for a natural birth if possible and well fueled muscles could only help with that, right?
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:29 PM
I remember having similar thoughts prior to having my first baby. I also do a bit of running and ran my first half marathon the year before I became pregnant, so I was interested to see how the experience of labour compared to distance running. To be honest I found labour and birth easier than the half marathon! I do think being fit and preparing your body to give birth can help. I know there is a lot of luck involved too, but I believe that going into labour with my body well prepped was beneficial and I recovered well from both my birth experiences. As far as food/drink goes, I wasn't able to eat a thing while in labour. As soon as active labour started I vomited up anything I tried to eat. I did find myself craving Powerade, and drank a bit of it while in labour with my first. So yeah, I think you could be on to something.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:31 PM
I made a "labour-aide" from a recipe on the internet, and I swear it made my contractions more effective.
From memory it had lemon juice, honey, salt and a calcium + magnesium tablet crushed up. I made it up and froze it in advance, then when I left home for the hospital I got it out and sipped it as it defrosted. I had water as well, and would sip on the labour-aide when I felt I needed it. It would make sense that it helps with stamina- it has the sugar for energy, and apparently the magnesium helps in muscle function.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:35 PM
Yup, look up labourade recipes
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:37 PM
I drank powerade during labour - not sure if it was that or the 9 months of carb loading beforehand that got me through
No idea if it's good for muscles etc but it is easy to drink without being sickly sweet and sits better in your stomach when your feeling a bit queasy so it worked for me.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:47 PM
Sports drinks, yes Gels, no. I have enough trouble eating gels while running let alone in labour. They make me gag, blerk. Given you aren't moving (running) you dont need something that is transportable, there are many other foods that would provide the same benefit. In an ultra marathon last year I ate a seed, nut & dark choc mix. It was fantastic.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:50 PM
When I've been in labour, I haven't wanted to eat anything. I'm prone to throwing up while in labour, so anything I attempt comes back up again.
I do remember they said I was low in ketones, most likely because I hadn't eaten or drunk for about 12 hours by that time, but I went on to have my baby a couple of hours later, and my appetite came back afterwards.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:50 PM
There was a report last year of a woman who ran a marathon at 38 weeks and then gave birth the next day... I wonder if she got the 'birth is like running a marathon' message slightly confused
I seem to remember that with gels you have to have water with them? I don't think it would be a good idea to have something that requires you to drink - just in case you can't manage it. Of course if you're induced, they'll be pumping you full of fluid anyway...
But yes, it does seem a reasonable idea. I thought about it, but the little I did drink came straight back up so it probably wouldn't have worked out for me. The birth suite of the hospital I was at did supply lots of fruit juices and sugary soft drink, so there were some options, even if not the same as gels.
Actually, thinking back, I didn't actually feel that worn out from labour - just tired from no sleep in 48 hours. I don't think that any kind of sports supplement could help with that.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:53 PM
There is no way I could eat or drink anything but ice water during my labours. But I didn't particularly feel worn out, just tired from being a wake for so long. After my 26 hour labouor I had a cup of tea and a biscuit and my 5 hour one I was more hungry after and had sandwiches as well. During both I had all the supplies but ended up crunching ice chips.
Posted 30 April 2012 - 03:58 PM
I tried during my first labour but vomited. Didn't bother trying with second labour but vomited up the previous meal anyway.
Worth a try definitely, but you may not be able to keep it down.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:50 AM
I didn't eat during labour, just never had the urge, and they weren't very long labours.
I did have powerade which made a nice change from water!
Posted 02 May 2012 - 10:23 AM
I vomited up my dinner as soon as hard labour hit. I don't think my body liked the idea of digesting AND working my interns at the same time!!
From (hazy, in the zone, memory) I just had sips of water when prompted. I think I should have had a juice box or something too, in hindsight. I was quite shakeu/woozy after labouring all night with no food to sustain me. After birth the student midwife made me a sweet Ovaltine and some honey toast while the me tucked me up on the couch with bub
layer DH made me a staminade (i keep powder in the pantry - but that's the benefit of homebirth) and I perked up amd felt 'normal' by about 3 hours later. I, though, an nowhere as fit as you!
Good luck OP.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:21 AM
I'm a big fan of my food but did not want to eat or drink during labour. I made myself eat some breakfast in the early stages which all came back up again later and the midwife had to force me to drink water (which again came back up)
It's a great theory but a lot of woman can't handle anything in their stomach while labouring.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:28 AM
I had powerade/gatorade (can't remember which) during my first labour and will be packing it in my hospital bag this time around too. I felt it definitely helped. Easily digestible, kept me hydrated, and we packed enough so that my husband could have a few sips too!
I remember having loads of energy after labour, despite not eating.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:29 PM
Really, the last thing I felt like doing was eating & drinking during labour, I was too focussed on what my body was doing.
Posted 02 May 2012 - 06:47 PM
I couldn't eat or drink during labour - with my first I brought dinner up and with my second I just didn't even feel like it, just wanted to labour and remembered how I threw up with my first and didn't want to do that again.
Really I didn't get physically exhausted, yes labour is hard on your stomach muscles but the rest of your muscles are fine so I think that helps you not get tried from that.
My second I wasn't that tried, exhausted or anything but I was induced in the morning, went into labour that afternoon and had Ben at 7, so I only had a normal day to deal with whereas my first I was sleepy, but my waters had broken 2-3 days beforehand so I had not been sleeping as I was excited and waiting for labour, didn't get induced until the late afternoon, no labour until 6pm and he was born at 2am - so it was more lack of sleepy tried than exhausted.
I say sure take it with you, my DH would have loved it and if you find like me you can't and don't want to drink during labour then at least your Dh can have something to keep him going.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:56 AM
I made DH stop and get me powerade on the way to hospital. I drank half and threw it up not long after, along with everything else I had eaten that arvo/night. Not fun.
By all means, take it but it might not stay down.
I was tired after from being awake all night but not exhausted like I had run a marathon or anything. I was awake all day after being in labour all night and was felt fine after a shower and some lunch really.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:06 AM
I had a similar discussion with my DH recently. He's training for a marathon and I wondered whether the gels would help a labouring woman. Next time I think I will try! I didn't throw up during labour (but I had an induction/epidural so that probably changes things). Afterwards I found Gatorade really helpful.
Posted 03 May 2012 - 06:53 PM
Thanks for all your replies! I'm so glad other people have thought similar thoughts.
It looks like sports drinks are definitely worth trying so I will do that for sure. I may try a homemade smoothie/labour-aid as well (freezing beforehand is a great idea!). I love how so many of your DHs played such an active support role.
I guess nobody knows how they will handle eating/drinking in labour (even between pregnancies?) but from the replies it seems like a common thing to not want to eat anything. But it seems worth a try, if not just for afterwards.
2 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users
We had six adults standing there, so I felt like I could relax a bit. After all, what could go wrong with so much supervision?
A Sydney barrister who survived the Lindt cafe siege has named her newborn daughter after her best friend who died in the tragedy.
Here are some foods to eat in order to escape feeling ghastly and gassy.
My son is a worrier by nature. I learnt long ago that it was completely pointless to say to him "Don't worry about it!".
The combined impact of the two budgets for low and middle income people was "devastating", new analysis by the Australian Council of Social Service shows.
As the winter chill starts to arrive, NSW Health is urging pregnant women to get their flu shots.
A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets.
It's not just waiting periods that couples need to consider - there are other factors to consider when thinking about health insurance.
Australian model Nicole Trunfio has taken the concept of multitasking to a fashionable new level for Elle Australia.
Parents have been warned about the dangers of letting babies sleep in bouncers and swings following the death of a three-month-old girl.
Sleep deprivation is a real hazard of caring for a baby. But there are ways to manage the challenges of fatigue better.
It's not all the parents, and it's not all the time, but there is often at least one doing it. And sometimes, that 'one' is me.
More than 80,000 faulty Samsung washing machines pose a fire threat in homes throughout Australia despite a nationwide recall of the machines.
Lotus birthing is not all that common, but for a number of women it feels like the most natural thing to do.
Despite its widespread nature, there is still a great amount of mystery surrounding PND - and it's important to try unravelling as much of that as we can.
More than 50 million vehicles recalled for potentially lethal airbag fault - is your car affected?
H2O is one of the necessities of life, but for babies a seemingly harmless amount of water can be fatal.
He had it all planned: a romantic proposal on a windswept beach. The whole family would be there so they'd all be able to celebrate the joyous moment together.
When our son stopped talking, our sense of loss was painful and acute.
They run their homes like domestic CEOs and work tirelessly to improve their family's social standing. And now, according to a new book, they want an annual perk from their husbands.
A widely-shared Facebook photograph of a British woman's breast has raised awareness of a more subtle breast cancer symptom.
"I'd never really failed a test - how could I fail this particularly manly test?"
New guidelines have been released, aimed at reducing children's harmful exposure to lead. But they still don't go far enough.
Chances are your toddler's behaviour is all completely normal - but here's how to tackle some common social problems.
We did sigh with joy at the arrival of a royal princess - but, mostly, we sighed with pity at the sight of Prince George being taken to meet her.
I've been in denial and I'm not too proud to beg, but it appears I must accept the fact that you have gone. I need to let you go.
The father of identical triplets born in a Texas hospital says his three daughters, including conjoined twins, are "a miracle" sent by God.
If the last time you assessed your health cover was five years ago, there?s a chance it may no longer suit your needs. To ensure it?s still right for your family, click here for seven questions to ask.
Many women in labour don't use gas effectively and suffer more side effects than benefits. Here's how to get the most out of this pain relief option.
We cannot place all children who are sick in a bubble till they recover, but we can give other parents a choice about exposing their kids to them.
Now that the colder months are here, Essential Baby as all the information you need for staying healthy and happy during the chilly season.
Home and Away actress Ada Nicodemou has opened up about the loss of her stillborn baby.
Before you start tracking your menstrual cycle and reading up on the best positions to get pregnant, there are a few other things you may want to consider.
Cricket legend Glenn McGrath and his second wife Sara are expecting their first child together, thanks to IVF and a delicate surgical sperm retrieval process that helped the couple to conceive.
The mother of disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson has accused her daughter of lying about her childhood in an attempt to garner public sympathy.
A new mum claims a doctor left his mobile phone inside her after delivering her baby via caesarean section.
I want my kids to know that no matter what happens in life, you can still be who it is that you've always wanted to be.
I had this innate 'mum' moment the other day.
Katherine's father will die in prison for the horrifying sexual abuse of his daughter. Yet she is the one with the true life sentence.
Mothers, babies, the health system and the wider society are going to pay the price of this new budget.
Baby Jai Bishop has lived at Starship Hospital for the past seven months, with his parents flying back and forth from Hokitika, 1100km away, to be by his side.
Life On Mars
We are all responsible for our own behaviour. Telling victims to harden up is wrong.
The biological father of baby Gammy has reportedly tried to access charity money raised for the little boy's medical costs.
It?s all very well to encourage women to work if they choose to, but how can the measures lead to increased workforce participation when women are once again left holding the baby?
After seven years of wishing, hoping, crying, punching pillows and shouting "why me?!", the end result is more than I ever thought possible.
Whether you're after a new car for a growing family, a bigger house, or are just fixing up your finances, here are the basics on borrowing.
A mum has shared a graphic photo of her skin cancer treatment as a warning to others.
We can certainly gain higher levels of happiness when we become parents, but the trick is to not get overwhelmed by the pressures of raising our kids.
It's obvious these people dote on their pets, but they're barking up the wrong tree.
Top baby names
The numbers are in and we can now bring you the 2014 top baby name list for Australia.