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Iran J Public Health. 2012;41(11):59-66. Epub 2012 Nov 1.

Effect of oral carbohydrate intake on labor progress: randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Gonabad University of Medical Sciences, Razavi Khorasan, Iran.



Lack of information regarding biochemical changes in women during labor and its outcomes on maternal and neonatal health still is an unanswered question. This study aims to explore the effectiveness of oral carbohydrate intake during labor on the duration of the active phase and other maternal and neonatal outcomes.


A parallel prospective randomized controlled trial, conducted at the University Affiliated Teaching Hospital in Gonabad. Totally, 190 women were randomly assigned to an intervention (N=87) or control (N=90) group. Inclusion criteria were low-risk women with singleton cephalic presentation; and cervical dilatation 3-4 cm. Randomization was used by random number generator on every day. Odd numbers was used for intervention and even numbers for control group. Intervention was based on the preferences between: 3 medium dates plus 110 ml water; 3 dates plus 110 ml light tea without sugar; or 110 ml orange juice. The protocol is only run once but women ate and drank gradually before second stage of labor. Control group were fasted as routine practice. Neither participants nor care givers or staff could be blinded to group allocation. Differences between duration of the active phase of labor were assessed as primary outcome measure.


There was significant difference in the length of second stage of labor (P <.05). The effect size for this variable was 0.48. There were no significant differences in other maternal and neonatal outcomes.


Oral intake of carbohydrate was an effective method for shortening the duration of second stage of labor in low-risk women.


Birth outcomes; Eating behavior; Labor; Oral carbohydrate intake

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