I’m having my next baby in the Netherlands. I’m joking, but seriously, I just read that laboring women are allowed to eat in the Netherlands and when I was in labor, I wasn’t allowed to touch food for twelve hours. It was about fifteen hours before I actually got to eat something. Labor is hard work, and I felt like I was starving half the time. I really think I could have used the energy boost! By the time I got into my room, the hospital’s kitchen had already closed. My husband did a midnight run to pick up McDonalds. A McDouble was my first meal as a mother. By then, I had gone so long without eating that I could barely eat half of the burger.
During labor, instead of the ice cold water and burger I was craving, I got stuck with a needle and was given IV fluids. I had asked if I could eat and they said, “no way! You can have ice chips.” When you’re hungry for a hamburger, ice chips just don’t cut it. IV fluids are no walk in the park, either. They had a hard time finding a good vein and I ended up very bruised around my wrists.
Interestingly enough, medical research does not support routine IVs or the “nothing by mouth” policy for laboring women. These are standard for surgery, but pushing a baby out is not surgery. They are worried about aspiration, but the Netherlands don’t have a problem with it any more than we do. Even in the case of emergency c-section, they are fully capable of preventing aspiration with modern procedures, such as intubation.
I think it’s odd that food is forbidden, and yet narcotics and anesthesia are freely given without anything more than a cervical check and a speedy explanation of risk. Given the choice, I’d say, “keep the epidural. I’ll take the sandwich!”
Were you allowed to eat or drink anything during labor? If not, did you sneak in food or eat a big meal before you arrived at the hospital?