Food for Labour
Nourishing your body in Preparation for Giving Birth…
Think of labour as you would a marathon where you need to prepare your body’s energy stores before-hand and then keep fuelled and hydrated during an intense period of activity. I’m often asked what women should eat during labour and the truth is many women will be unable to eat during this time. It’s important to remember that you can prepare your body in the few weeks before giving birth, building glycogen stores in your liver and muscles which will be turned into energy when your body needs it.
The key to building glycogen stores is to eat a diet high in complex carbohydrates, these are carbs that are high in fibre and release energy much more slowly into the blood stream, unlike simple carbs that provide an immediate source of energy.
Examples of complex carbohydrates are brown rice, oats, spelt, beans and pulses, sweet potatoes, quinoa, vegetables, wholegrain pasta. To create a balanced meal be sure to add some protein and healthy fats with your complex carbs.
You may find that you struggle to eat big meals in the last few weeks of pregnancy as your baby takes up so much space. Try to eat 5-6 mini meals rather than the traditional 3 meals with 2 snacks. This way you are more likely to include the right balance of complex carbs, fat and protein every time you eat. I cook a normal portion and then reheat what’s left a few hours later when I have room again, rather than having a biscuit or piece of toast in between my 3 meals.
– Spelt risotto with wild salmon and broccoli (recipe on my Instagram grid)
– Three bean tagine with chicken and spinach (recipe on my Instagram grid)
– Porridge with seeds, hemp and nut butter
– Brown rice salad with mackerel and avocado
– Quinoa with roasted butternut squash and roasted cauliflower
– Sweet potato and lentil curry (Deliciously Ella Recipe)
An athlete wouldn’t start an endurance race without preparing the body and labour is no different. You need to ensure that your body has the energy reserves to sustain hours of intense activity and avoid exhaustion.
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