So say ta ta to tiredness and hello to high energy to give you that extra push during labour…
Drink plenty of water – regular sips are ideal. ‘If you’re struggling to eat but you feel like you could stomach a fizzy drink, an energy drink like Lucozade can help you through some tiring contractions,’ says midwife Catherine Chmiel.
Carbohydrates are good to eat during labour as they’re easily digested and give a slow release of energy – and will help you through contractions. Try snacking on wholemeal sandwiches, jacket potatoes and brown rice as these will keep you going for longer. Try eating little and often, rather than having one big meal – just think about what you’d eat the night before running a marathon, a small snack every hour while you’re in early labour will store up plenty of energy for the work ahead. But if food doesn't appeal and it might be too heavy later on, dextrose tablets can offer a source of immediate energy.
Birth partner energy
Whether its your mum by your side or your man holding your hand, it's worth remembering that your birth partner will need to keep their energy levels up, too - so they can keep up – and keep you positive. Labour can be long and hard–going for them too, so encourage them to take regular food and drink breaks.
Up your iron intake
Iron is not not only one of the most essential nutrients for the growth of your baby, but if you are generally deficient it will leave you tired and lacking in energy. You can also become deficient as a result of bleeding during or after delivery. Your GP will check your levels, but ensure you eat an iron-rich diet during pregnancy and after. ‘Good sources are meat, beans and leafy green vegetables,’ says Rana. ‘Vitamin C boosts the absorption of iron, so finish your meal prior to giving birth with a glass of orange juice.’
Once you get to 10cm dilated, your baby still has to make her way down the birth canal. ‘Don’t start pushing right away, or you might run out of steam – wait until you get the urge,’ says Patrick O’Brien, leading obstetrician. ‘When you do start, listen to your midwife. Being upright can help, but just do what’s best for you.’