EATING AND DRINKING IN LABOR

A Literature Review

Authors

  • Leslie M. Ludka CNM, MSN,

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    • Leslie M. Ludka received her B.S.N. from Boston University School of Nursing and her M.S.N. and C.N.M. from Yale University School of Nursing. She is currently in clinical practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, with a faculty appointment to Harvard University Medical School.

  • Catherine C. Roberts CNM, MSN

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    • Catherine C. Roberts received her B.S.N. from the University of Rhode Island and her M.S.N. and C.N.M. from Yale University School of Nursing. She is currently in clinical practice at North Central Bronx Hospital, New York City.


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ABSTRACT

This literature review questions the routine practice of denying food and fluids to women in labor. Fasting in labor, an established practice throughout the United States since the 1940s, is now under careful scrutiny. Many clinical practices, especially those that offer midwifery services, are currently instituting policies to allow and encourage eating and drinking in normal labor. To date, there have been no reported rises in maternal mortality with this policy change; neither have there been any reports of detrimental outcomes for mother or infant.

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