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
The government has issued a health warning after a rise in allergic skin reactions has been linked to a preservative found in some wet wipes.
Love may have won, but it came with quite the wait.
The family of missing boy William Tyrrell will mark his fourth birthday on Friday making a cake to share with friends and family as NSW police renewed their public appeal for information on his disappearance.
A picture of Ryan Reynolds always gets the girls talking, and a recently shared photo has done exactly that - but this time, it's for all the wrong reasons.
Thinking her baby just had an unusually shaped head, a mother was shocked to discover it was instead linked to a dangerous condition.
My toddler has started hitting when he gets frustrated, is feeling ignored, or just thinks it might be fun.
Transparency, accountability and responsibilityare essential measures to protect IVF vulnerable patients.
This day marks a significant day. Today marks 10 years since I lost my son Kai.
It's been a whole year since sleeping in until 10am. A whole year since having a peaceful shower.
Are you a parent, or are you planning to be? Tell us what you think and you'll go in the draw to win a $500 gift card!
Unfortunately, the belief that sex should always be spontaneous is a myth. It just isn't.
Former All Black Jerry Collins' critically injured orphaned daughter has awoken from her coma and is able to bottle-feed.
One American father has taken multitasking to a new level at a Cubs-Dodgers baseball game at Wrigley Field.
Having lost their firstborn at one day old, the Carrolls were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Isobel into the world a year later.
From 'morning sickness' to 'the terrible twos', there are many parenting terms that are misleading.
While most nannies take pride in their work, there can be some who have a hidden side.
Beware: skinny jeans might be bad for your health.
A number of women having caesarean deliveries are now taking steps to give their baby a better 'microbiome' start in life.
Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC's The Tonight Show, recently wrote a children's book about every father's secret wish for their baby's first word to be "dada" - not "mama".
Looking for some baby name inspiration for a bub born during the colder months? Here are 28 options from around the world to consider.
Ultrasounds give you a look at your growing baby ... and sometimes what appears to their womb-buddy, or your bub in an amusing position.
The uncle of the seven-year-old girl at the centre of the brawl at child's birthday party in Sydney's west has described the events leading up to the alarming show of violence.
More often than not, you'll read that screen time for children should be kept to a minimum - but some scientists are now challenging this way of thinking.
Natalie Reilly describes three main types of conversations mothers have. And, surprise, they're not all about kids.
A baby's smell, the noises it makes and even its gaze can contribute to the potential for a dog attack.
It was meant to be a tasteful cake to help celebrate a three-year-old's christening.
How many times have you been warned about all the sleepless nights you have to 'look forward to' when you become a parent?
A police officer arrived at a devastating scene on Thursday: a car crash resulting in all passengers being thrown from the vehicle.
Want to open the boardroom doors for women? Encourage - heck, praise - dads who stay home with their children.
Just two days after giving birth, actor Alec Balwin's wife posted a post-baby picture on social media.
Compliance is part of the parent-child relationship, but so is resistance. It's all natural.
The Baird government will include $22.8 million in Tuesday's NSW budget to expand a program designed to help parents at risk of postnatal depression (PND).
I'm really lucky to have two great kids, but I found it really tough with so much being aimed at the mothers and not the fathers.
Mums returning to work - and yes, dads too - aren't the same as when they left. But that doesn't mean they're not as good as they once were.
How do you create an original pregnancy announcement and gender reveal? You turn to Britney Spears.
When told that they are having a 'big baby', many women have a lot of fears. But those fears are often unfounded.
This bizarre snack takes the cake (of soap) when it comes to weird pregnancy cravings.
Can you spot him in the video? The child who loses his rubber ring, panics, and then almost drowns? It isn't easy.
Yes, I know it's silly. I know all the advice from experts is to use the right terminology from the moment your child can talk. But I just can't.
Bree O'Malley has a cancer diagnosis, a rare blood condition, kidney and liver failure and other complications. And she is pregnant with triplets.
Are you are parent or planning to be? We want to know what you think - let us know and you'll be in the draw to win a $500 gift card.