Women in labor can enjoy a chocolate or vanilla protein shake during labor rather than being relegated to the tedium of ice chips, according to a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY™ 2013 annual meeting. Mothers who drank a protein drink during childbirth reported higher satisfaction rates, although nausea and vomiting rates were the same as for mothers who were only given ice chips.
"Giving birth is a tremendous stress on both mother and baby," said Manuel C. Vallejo, M.D., D.M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown. "Anything we can do to increase patient satisfaction during labor without increasing adverse events is a major positive. Physicians should feel comfortable replacing ice chips or water with a high-protein drink supplement."
Nausea and vomiting is an unfortunate side effect for some women in childbirth. Restrictions on eating and drinking during childbirth began more than 50 years ago when women often gave birth under general anesthesia. The risk of aspiration of food and drink into the lungs is a rare but potentially fatal complication of general anesthesia and therefore, women in labor generally have their eating and drinking restricted.