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J Midwifery Womens Health. 2016 Jul;61(4):528-34. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12515. Epub 2016 Jul 6.

Providing Oral Nutrition to Women in Labor: American College of Nurse-Midwives.

[No authors listed]


Historically, oral intake for women during labor has been limited to nothing by mouth or clear liquids only. These restrictions are based on the risk of aspiration during or after the administration of general anesthesia. While aspiration can be life threatening, older methods of anesthesia are rarely used in current intrapartum care, and evidence is inconclusive that withholding oral nutrition reduces the risk of gastric aspiration. Additionally, withholding oral nutrition may result in the development of ketosis and may potentially contribute to a woman's stress and dissatisfaction with the birth experience. The purpose of this Clinical Bulletin is to review the evidence related to this practice and provide recommendations to promote informed, shared decision making regarding oral intake during labor with women at low risk for gastric aspiration.


ad lib nutrition; labor; oral intake; risk assessment; supportive care; women's preferences

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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