NCT response: Cochrane Review on eating and drinking in labour

Released on: 20 July 2011

The NCT has been active in raising awareness on the issue of eating and drinking during labour for many years. Withholding food and drink is an intervention that has been imposed on healthy women in normal labour without justification. The Cochrane Review of evidence demonstrates that such a policy is not necessary, as the benefits do not outweigh the harms.

Mary Newburn, Head of Research & Information, NCT, said;


“Women appreciate having the freedom to choose for themselves whether or not to eat and drink in labour, and healthy women with a straightforward pregnancy should be free to eat and drink to appetite during labour, if they wish.


“We know from experience and published evidence that few women choose to eat in strong active labour and light, easily digested, foods are likely to be most acceptable to women. We are delighted this high quality collaborative systematic review, including Gill Gyte, NCT antenatal teacher, as one of the authors, is now available to inform the development of practice across the UK.”