Aspects of food and fluid intake during labour. Policies of midwives and obstetricians in The Netherlands

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1998 May;78(1):37-40. doi: 10.1016/s0301-2115(98)00007-4.


Objective: This study outlines the current policies on food and fluid intake during labour in The Netherlands and discusses the pro's and con's of food-restriction.

Study design: 50 midwives and 30 obstetricians were asked about their actual policy on food and fluid-intake during labour.

Results: A restrictive policy during normal labour is followed by 20% of the midwives and 14% of the obstetricians. About 75% leaves the decision on food and fluid-intake to the women themselves.

Conclusions: Despite the non-restrictive policy in The Netherlands, the mortality due to the Mendelson-syndrome is not higher than in countries where a restrictive policy is followed. During normal labour there are no conclusive reasons for food or fluid-restriction. From a metabolic point of view it is hypothesized that the intake of energy-rich substrates may have a positive influence on labour progression. Further study on the subject seems indicated.

MeSH terms

  • Drinking*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Labor, Obstetric*
  • Midwifery*
  • Netherlands
  • Obstetrics*
  • Pregnancy