Friday, January 22, 2010

Cochrane Review about Eating During Labor

Most you are probably already aware of the recent Cochrane review about eating during labor--concluding that there is no justification to support fasting during labor. Of course, midwives have known this for a long time...

As the background statement notes, restricting fluids and foods during labor is common practice in many hospitals with some women only being allowed sips of water or ice chips. This restriction is unpleasant for lots of women and may have a variety of negative impacts on their births. I don't know if people in different geographic areas are starting to see changes in their local hospitals' fasting-during-labor guidelines, but I have yet to notice any loosening of restrictions in my own community.

The conclusion of the review is as follows:

"Since the evidence shows no benefits or harms, there is no justification for the restriction of fluids and food in labour for women at low risk of complications. No studies looked specifically at women at increased risk of complications, hence there is no evidence to support restrictions in this group of women. Conflicting evidence on carbohydrate solutions means further studies are needed and it is critical in any future studies to assess women's views.

The full Cochrane review is here. And there is a podcast available about it here.

There is a Reuters Health article about it here.

I noticed that less well-circulated amongst the birth community is the Cochrane review that was released the same day about Doppler use during high-risk pregnancies reducing risk in high-risk groups. I'd like to be mindful of the tendency to NOT share information that perhaps does not support our own views--isn't this what the medical community frequently does with evidence about the healthy birth practices we support so strongly?

CfM Blogger
P.S. I saw lots of general news articles about this doppler review and received an update directly from the Cochrane Library explaining it, but then did not find the actual review on the Cochrane site...Here is a link to an article from Science Daily about it.


CfM Molly said...

I received a comment asking for a link to an article about the Doppler review. I accidentally hit "reject" on the comment instead of "publish" though--sorry, Laurel! If you would like to repost, please do. I get so many spam comments on this blog that my finger is reject-button-happy apparently!

I edited the post to include a link to a recent news article about the Cochrane review about doppler use during high risk pregnancies.


Laurel said...

Thanks for the link, Molly! :-)

Unknown said...

I bet it will take a long time to actually see guidelines changing in hospitals. But I know labor can last long hours and I'd imagine women get really hungry and thirsty, making the painful experience worse. However, do you still need to limit your food and beverage choices? CBS says there are a few good options: