Eating in a small amount during labor can help maintain energy levels when you need it the most. Here are 21 healthy snacks to pack in hospital bag for labor and dad.
There are varying opinions on whether to pack snacks for labor and delivery. Some moms do not feel like eating when they are in their early stage of labor, while others need to eat to keep up their energy level.
Regardless of you eat or not during labor, it is always a good idea to pack healthy snacks in a hospital bag for labor because you will definitely need to eat once you have done the most challenging job of your life.
Some may argue that you can buy food from the hospital if you get hungry.
Yes, indeed you can!
But to tell you the truth, I never wanted my husband to leave me for a min when I was having contractions. Because it would take a minimum of 20 min or more to go and buy a snack from the hospital food store from the labor and delivery ward.
On the other hand, if you have packed healthy snacks in a hospital bag for labor, it would be easy for you just to grab and eat them. No hassle!
And if you don’t eat during labor, dad-to-be can definitely eat. So, get your hospital bag checklist out and add healthy snacks to it.
Here are 21 healthy snacks to pack in hospital bag for labor. Obviously, you don’t need to pack them all. Pick the ones that are palatable for you and your partner.
- Can you eat while in Labor at the Hospital?
- 21 Healthy Snacks to Pack in Hospital Bag for Labor
- Best Snacks for Hospital Stay during Labor
- How to Pack Hospital bag Snacks for Labor?
- Best Snacks for after c-section or Delivery
- Hospital bag Snacks for Gestational Diabetic Mother
Can you eat while in Labor at the Hospital?
It depends on the hospital you are laboring. Some hospitals do not allow mom-to-be to eat and drink, while others allow drinking clear fluid during labor. The main reason for the restriction is to ensure that moms-to-be have an empty stomach in case they need to go for an emergency c-section with general anesthesia.
However, current research calls these hospital policies outdated. The Cochrane review of five randomized trials with low-risk pregnancies did not find any evidence for harm or benefit from eating and drinking during labor (1). Sometimes labor lasts for 8,12, or 24 hours, and fasting could be harmful long after contraction begins.
According to a research study published in 2015, fasting could be harmful during labor. It could cause stomach juices to become more acidic if an aspiration needed to happen (2,3).
Actually, eating and drinking during labor could shorten your labor. An extensive research study published in 2017 found that the women laboring under less-restrictive eating and drinking policies had shorter labor by about 16 minutes (4).
So, if you want to snack during your labor, make sure you ask your hospital in advance whether they allow it or not. Alternatively, you can use a birth center for your labor and delivery, where they are less restrictive about eating and drinking during labor.
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21 Healthy Snacks to Pack in Hospital Bag for Labor
Knowing that some hospital has no eating policy during labor, you want to stay home as long as you can once contraction starts. At home, you have the freedom to eat as many times as you like during the early stage of labor. Having a good carbohydrate and protein-rich meal is essential for the energy you will need at the active labor stage.
For snacking during labor, you need something light, salty, savory, sweet depending on your palate, or you may not eat at all, who knows!
Here in this list of healthy snacks to take to the hospital, I have included carb-rich, light snacks ideas that you and dad can eat during labor or after birth.
And you don’t need to pack all of them from this list. Just pack 4-5 snacks that you like. It will come in handy once you have your baby or in case you need to stay at the hospital a little longer.
Best Snacks for Hospital Stay during Labor
1. Trail Mix
There are wide varieties of trail mix available to purchase. It is a great grab-and-go snack for hospital stays during labor, and anywhere you go. You can just put it in your bag and don’t have to worry about it going bad even if it is not eaten.
2. Granola bars
Not into trail mix. Grab your favorite granola bars and pack them in your hospital bag. Granola bar make a great snack when you get hungry between breastfeeding sessions.
When you are craving something, sweet fruit yogurt is a great snack. Get individual Greek yogurt or get a yogurt tube for convenience. Also, pack few disposable spoons, so you don’t have to look for a spoon at the hospital.
When you need something delicious and filling, muffins are the way to go. Grab the pack of six muffins from your favorite bakery store before you go to the hospital. It can make an excellent snack for dad too. Even if you don’t eat it during labor, you definitely would want to eat after delivery.
While you are making muffins to pack in your hospital bag, why not make lactation muffins, cookies, energy bites, bread or granola? Here is an amazing breastfeeding snack recipe eBook with step-by-step instructions on how to make 12 breastfeeding-friendly snacks. The best part is you can make couple of batches of lactation cookies and energy bites and freeze it to use it as a breastfeeding snacks once you have a baby. For less than $10, get your snacks fixed for labor and breastfeeding. Get your copy today.
5. Toast and Jam
Snack on whole-grain toast with jam to get a kick in your energy level. Skip the peanut butter, for now, so it doesn’t strain your digestive system.
Convenient packing of applesauce makes it an excellent snack for hospital stay during labor. It tastes delicious and goes down so easy. It also gives you the energy boost that you need to perform the most challenging job of your life.
Just like applesauce, who would say no to Jell-O for a snack even when you are feeling those contractions? Grab those neatly packed individual Jell-O cups from the local grocery store or make your own.
Nuts – almonds, cashews, and peanuts as snacks are delicious and energy-boosting. You can buy them individually and pack them in ziplock bags or buy individually packed nut mix.
9. Plain Pasta
A small scoop of plain pasta may not be as delicious as a plate full of double cheese baked penne, but the perfect way to get your carb level fix for the big event.
If your hospital doesn’t let you eat anything, they won’t say no to sucking on a popsicle. It will keep you hydrated as well as give you an energy boost. Even better if they are made with fruit. You need to make it in advance if you wish to pack this as a snack for the hospital during labor.
I struggled to get enough sleep in my third trimester until I found this amazing Digest & De-stress Magnesium supplement specifically formulated to help you relax and unwind while supporting digestive regularity during pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding. I highly recommend checking it out to get some much-needed restful sleep before your baby arrives.
Salted crackers can make an easy snack during labor. They are light won’t strain your digestive system.
12. Plain Rice Cake
I love rice cakes as a light snack. Pick the ones that are made with whole grain. They are fat-free and easy to digest.
13. Veggie and Hummus
You can grab those conveniently individually packed hummus and baby carrots for snacking during labor. You can also cut and pack other vegetables as you like too if you want pita bread to go with hummus. It also makes a great snack for vegan moms.
14. Fresh fruits
Fresh fruits make an easy snack, but you need to pick fruits that won’t bruise easily in your hospital bags. Pack fruits like grapes, apples, and pear (previously washed) are great choices.
15. Dried fruits
Not into fruits? How about Dried fruits or freeze-dried fruits? They taste more like chewy candy but healthier. Dried mango, dried apricot, raisins, dried cranberry or raspberry, can be easy to pack, and you don’t have to worry about it getting spoiled if not eaten.
16. Energy balls
Energy balls can make a great snack during labor to boost energy for the last part of labor and are also great as a vegan snack for hospital. Check out the video below for a no-back peanut butter energy ball with coconut as an ingredient. Energy balls with coconut are not only a good snack during labor but perfect as a breastfeeding snack.
Yes, not kidding! Sucking on hard-boiled lollies will keep your mouth a fresh and quick burst of energy. You can also go with gummy lollies or jellybeans. But be careful with too many sweets because it may make you sick.
Yes, it’s a movie night snack but can be great as an early labor snack. Popcorn is carbohydrate-rich, slow-release energy snack and will get you through the early contraction.
19. Boiled Eggs
Boiled eggs can make an excellent high-protein snack right after your delivery or c-section. It would be best if you packed boiled egg in a tight container to avoid everything else in your hospital bag smelling like an egg.
Wait, Are you ready to bring your baby home?
You still have time to make freezer meals that will help you heal faster postpartum and make a quality breast milk.
Or if you are not into freezer meal get this Breastfeeding friendly 28 days postpartum meal plan to fix breakfast, lunch and dinner in just 30 min so you can spend more time with your baby and not in the kitchen!!
Here are my two favorite resources!
Healing Freezer Meals for Postpartum and Breastfeeding
- Includes 12 freezer meal recipes
- 5 bonus recipes + tips,
- Prep instructions
- Shopping list
- Breastfeeding food list
Breastfeeding Mama’s 28 days Postpartum Meal Plan
- Includes 100+ Breastfeeding friendly meal recipes
- 1900 calories a day meal plan
- Easy recipe-get it done in 30 min
- Weekly Shopping list
20. DIY Oatmeal Cup
Once you deliver your baby, you will crave warm food to replenish what your body has lost during birthing your baby. DIY oatmeal cups can give you that quick warm snack to satisfy your hunger. To make these oatmeal cups, you need 14-ounce Arc Working Glass Jars with Lids. Do not use the plastic container as you will need to add boiling water to cook the oatmeal.
Here is how you want to make your DIY oatmeal cup.
- 1/4 cup Quick oats
- 1/4 cup quick oats or rolled oats powder (you can make it home using your blender)
- Brown sugar to taste
- Cinnamon to taste
- Pinch of salt
- Toppings of your choice – Dried fruits such as resins, strawberry, blueberry, mango, apricot, Coconut flakes, or chocolate chips
In your 14-ounce glass jars, combine quick oats, oats powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix it well with a spoon. Then add your desired toppings. Cover the jar with a lid and pack it in your hospital bag well in advance.
When you need to eat your warm snack after your c-section or delivery, add 1é2 cup of boiling water and let it cook for several minutes.
Alternatively, add 1/2 cup of water into the oatmeal cup and microwave it for 1 min.
Microwaves are readily available in the labor and delivery lunchroom so that you won’t have a problem cooking your oatmeal.
And don’t just prepare one DIY oatmeal jar to pack in your hospital bag. Prepare a couple so your husband can have a warm snack too.
These DIY oatmeal cups are so delicious that you won’t be satisfied after having one. So, make sure you pack more.
21. Coconut Water
Even if you don’t feel like eating during labor, you need to stay hydrated. A sip of water every 15-20 min will keep your mouth fresh and body hydrated.
Coconut water is an excellent replacement for water if you are not a big fan of water. It is an excellent source of natural electrolytes. If you are not allowed to eat during labor at the hospital, drinking coconut water will get you through the labor.
Not only during labor, staying hydrated while breastfeeding is as essential to boosting your milk supply. You can pick any hydrating drinks you like if coconut water doesn’t appeal to you.
Related Reading: 8 Beverages to Keep you Hydrated while Breastfeeding
How to Pack Hospital bag Snacks for Labor?
Depending upon what you have decided to pack in your hospital bag, here are certain things that you want to keep in mind.
- Pack your perishables food items in an insulated lunch bag so even if it is not eaten, it won’t go bad.
- Use a separate container for your sandwich or fruits.
- Keep your granola bars, trail mix, or lollies inside the pocket of your insulated lunch bag, so they are easily accessible when you need them.
Best Snacks for after c-section or Delivery
Once you deliver your baby and cuddling him/her skin-to-skin, whether it’s a vaginal delivery or c-section, you will soon realize how hungry you are. After all, you have done the most challenging job of your life.
Even after you have been snacking during labor, you have not had a real meal in the past several hours. You need to eat a warm meal to rebuild the lost energy and something that also help boost your milk supply if you are breastfeeding.
If you may not have access to a full meal right after a c-section or delivery, you can snack on high protein foods such as nuts, yogurt, and boiled eggs. DIY oatmeal cups make a great warm snack right after you have your baby. Follow the recipe listed above, and you will have a quick warm, nutritious snack ready to replenish your lost energy. Oats are also great for boosting your milk supply. So, make sure you make a habit of eating oats every day once you bring the baby home from the hospital.
Hospital bag Snacks for Gestational Diabetic Mother
If you have diabetes, you need to have snacks with you if you need to increase or decrease your sugar level during labor. However, if your doctor puts you on insulin, they won’t let you eat anything during labor. Regardless of that, you need to pack snacks in a hospital bag after birth because they keep diabetic mothers in for a few days until they know the baby is fine.
Here are hospital bag snacks for diabetic mothers.
- Plain yogurt
- Flapjacks (no added sugar)
- DIY oatmeal cup (recipe listed above, Do not add sugar)
- Sargento balanced breaks (only 12 gm carb)
- Sugar-free chocolate Pretzels
- Digestive biscuits
- No added sugar jelly pots
- Babybels (cheese portions)
- Raw veggies with hummus
- Virtue Energy Water
- Lucozade ZERO
I hope this exhaustive list of healthy snacks to pack in hospital bag for labor gives you enough ideas on snacks for your hospital stay. These snacks won’t be too hard on your digestive system yet will provide you with enough energy throughout your labor and delivery. And even if you don’t end up eating anything during labor, you will definitely want to eat once you deliver your baby.
Before you go, check out how I was able to induce labor naturally with curb walking because I am sure once you hit 39-40 weeks you want things to move fast. And if curb walking is not for you, check out midwife brew recipe- with and without castor oil in case you don’t want to medically induced.
Good luck with the packing, mamas!
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- Singata, M., Tranmer, J., & Gyte, G. M. L. (2013). Restricting oral fluid and food intake during labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews(8).
- Harty, C., Sproul, E., Bautista, M. J., Major, A. E., & Farrell, A. (2015). A Review of Fasting and the Risk of Aspiration in Labour. Memorial University Faculty of Medicine, St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. American Society of Anesthesiologists ABSTRACT.
- Phelps K, Deavers J, Seehusen DA, Stevermer JJ. PURL: Let low-risk moms eat during labor? J Fam Pract. 2018 Jun;67(6):379-380. PMID: 29879238; PMCID: PMC6001899.
- Ciardulli A, Saccone G, Anastasio H, Berghella V. Less-Restrictive Food Intake During Labor in Low-Risk Singleton Pregnancies: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Mar;129(3):473-480. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001898. PMID: 28178059.
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