Packing your hospital bag is a big chore. You have got a lot on your mind, mainly the fact that you are packing that hospital bag in preparation to have a baby! So it is not surprising that many moms-to-be do not think to pack snacks in their hospital bag. Snacks for hospital bag can be a lifesaver, though.
Everyone knows that hospital food isn’t always amazing. So, healthy snacks that will give you energy for the monumental task of childbirth are a great thing to have on hand and to also add a bit of variety to what you are given to eat. Your birthing partner will also really appreciate snacks for your hospital stay.
What to Eat Before Labor
While thinking about a great snack to pack in your hospital bag for your hospital stay, you may want to consider what to eat before labor. The best snacks and meals to ingest before you go in for a scheduled induction could help sustain you during the long process of induced labor and delivery. Many moms-to-be has tried to think ahead and prepare freezer meals for when they and their baby return home from the hospital, but what is often not considered is what should be eaten before going in to be induced.
Good Food Before Induction
You may be as hungry as ever, with a great appetite right before your induction. Or you might be too nervous or excited even to entertain the idea of eating a full meal before induction. Either way, be sure to eat something.
Deciding that you will wait until after the baby is born to eat some hospital food means that you could go without eating for a very long time. Having a baby is not what it looks like in the movies, and inductions usually take much longer than spontaneous labor. Your body is being pushed into labor before it decides that it is actually “ready.”
If you have any issues during your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, or other medical issues, be sure to speak to the medical professional in charge of your induction before planning your meal or snacks before you go in for your procedure.
Consuming foods high in protein, such as eggs, peanut butter, fish, plain nuts, and meat, will help you build and sustain energy for the gauntlet of induced labor. You will need lots of energy for the mom life, but this is when you need energy the most.
Protein also helps you stay full and feel full for a longer period. One of the last things you want is to be in labor and feel like you are famished. You will feel drained and stressed far faster on what feels like an empty stomach.
Carbohydrates and starches like pasta, bread, rice, muffins, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and more can give you lots of energy. Starch turns to sugar when digested. Sugar turns into energy when needed by the body.
Fiber is great—most of the time. However, when preparing for labor, it is best to minimize the amount of fiber you ingest. Fiber is difficult to digest, making your body work harder to process. Your body will need all of the energy it has to focus on the task of having a baby, so keeping your fiber intake low is best when preparing for induced labor.
Hospital snacks for labor
It used to be the standard that hospital snacks were prohibited once admitted for labor and delivery. The thought process behind this was that doctors wanted you to have an empty stomach in the event of a complication in the labor process, especially when there is a need for a c-section. More and more hospitals are ditching this policy lately. Some even encourage having a light snack while in labor to keep your energy levels up so that you can better deal with the process of childbirth.
If you are still feeling on the fence about this, think of it this way: If you were at home and went into spontaneous labor right after dinner or a snack, you would be delivering a baby at the hospital with food in your stomach. While some laborers last many hours, many others do not. Women with food in their stomachs deliver healthy babies through vaginal delivery and c-section delivery every day without any complications. In fact, no real complications have been cited for laboring women who had food in their stomachs at delivery.
Some hospitals and birth center policies still restrict food and drink intake for laboring women regardless of the research. So be sure to reach out and ask your delivery hospital or birth center what their specific policies are regarding eating during labor.
The Best Snacks to Pack in your Hospital Bag for Labor
It is difficult to predict what you might be hungry for when you are in labor. Many pregnant women cannot predict what they are hungry for when not having contractions. It is best to plan ahead when packing hospital bag snacks and choosing foods full of protein and healthy fats that will give you the energy to help you get through labor and delivery.
1. Dried Fruits
Dried fruit is easy to make, or you can purchase it. To make dried fruit, just purchase whatever fresh fruits you enjoy most, and dehydrate them. This can be done in a small appliance that you can buy, or often even in your oven. You can also purchase dried fruits at your local grocery store already packaged. Banana chips, fruit leather, and even fruit chews are a great way to have some sort of fruit available to you in an easy-to-eat and easily accessible fashion.
2. Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruit can give you a rush of natural sugar. It is also tasty and is one of the more healthy snacks to pack in your hospital bag. The only downside to it is that for some fruit, you have to keep it chilled. However, you can bring along an insulated lunch bag with ice packs and keep several different chilled snacks. Prepare your fresh fruit before you pack snacks in your hospital bag, as you will not have time to peel or slice it while in labor.
3. Granola Bars
Granola bars are a great snack to pack in your hospital bag. You can share them with your birthing partner for a tasty burst of energy. They come in several different flavor options and have a lot of nutritional value, and they are also an easy snack to give you energy bites that can help you get through labor. You can also make your own granola bars pretty easily ahead of time, giving you the freedom to customize the contents and flavors.
4. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes come in many different flavors and are a light snack that is a great hospital bag snack for any point in your hospital stay. Rice cakes are one of the best snacks for your hospital bag because they do not go bad, and they can be paired or topped with many other snacks.
5. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a delicious option when packing snacks for your hospital bag. It pairs well with fruit, cheese sticks, and nearly every other snack. It is also one of the healthiest snacks to pack. Trail mix also comes in several variations, so there is a combination you will surely love regardless of your taste or preference. Most trail mix also contain nuts, which are chock full of healthy fats that your body will process and turn into energy for labor.
6. Cheese Sticks
As long as you are not sensitive to dairy products, cheese is a great snack to add to your hospital bag. Just be sure to keep it chilled. Cheese cubes, sticks, or string cheese all pair well with nuts, crackers, fruit, and nearly all other snacks. It is also a light snack that will not leave you feeling drained or heavy.
7. Beef Jerky
You may not have thought of this when considering snacks for your hospital stay, but beef jerky, while packed with sodium, also has a lot of protein. So including it in your labor bag may be a great idea if you need snack ideas that will give you energy. Just be sure to have some juice or water on hand to quench any thirst the sodium in the jerky induces.
8. Graham Crackers
Graham, cheese, peanut butter, saltine, soup crackers—any crackers are always good to have. They are good snacks for your hospital bag because they do not make people nauseous, and some people even swear that they help alleviate the feeling of nausea.
9. Oatmeal Cups
This is a very good hospital snack to consider when you need energy and nutrients. You can either make them yourself or buy them in pre-packaged cups. Just add hot water, mix it up, and enjoy. They come in many flavors, and some even have fruit in them. Add honey sticks to this snack, and you have got yourself a savory and sweet pairing that is one of the best hospital snacks. You can purchase both of these items at your favorite grocery store.
10. Apple Sauce Pouches
When you need a quick snack in your hospital room while in labor, packing some applesauce pouches can be a lifesaver. They come in all sorts of flavors, and they are simple to open, ready to go, and do not require any utensils. They also come in perfect single portion sizes so that you do not feel overly full after eating one. Applesauce pouches can be shared with your birthing partner when he needs a quick energy boost.
11. Protein Bars
Protein bars are great snacks for hospital bag use. These will give you the boost of energy that you (and even your partner) need to get through the tough times that is labor and delivery. You can get them in just about any flavor combination you can think of. Protein bars are also a good snack after delivery when trying to get a little bit of energy you lost during the birth process.
Vegetables that are easy finger foods like baby carrots, cucumber slices, and cherry tomatoes (I know, technically a fruit) are great ways to sneak some nutrition into your hospital bag. They also taste great and can be paired with other sweet foods. Just make sure you pack them in a cooler bag, so they do not get too warm.
13. Hard Boiled Eggs
As far as labor snacks go, you will not get a more protein-packed snack (aside from a protein bar) than hard-boiled eggs. Eggs are a significant source of protein, and packing them in hospital bags when it is time to have a baby will provide you with a good snack that can help you when giving birth. Just be sure to pack them in a cooler bag.
Single size yogurts are small snacks that can help you beat hunger and are one of the easiest snacks to eat while in early labor or even right before giving birth. They do not require utensils and are available in many different flavors.
15. Coconut Water
Coconut water is a great addition to your stash of snacks. It helps to hydrate your body and helps with nausea if you start to feel a little sick to your stomach. There are even claims that it can help with breast milk production. If you are not a big fan of coconut, do not worry. You can purchase flavored coconut water that cuts out the taste of the coconut and will leave you feeling refreshed.
Pack Enough for the Both of You
When packing your healthy snacks, do not forget about your birthing partner. Whether your significant other, friend, parent, or coach, they are also undertaking something strenuous. Packing a few ziplock bags full of whatever their favorite snacks are will help them keep up the stamina and energy to be there for you during this crucial time. The last thing you want is a hungry partner who needs to step away to find a vending machine or buy food from the hospital cafeteria. Also, babies come when they want to (even during induced labor), and sometimes, the cafeteria is not even an option.
Avoid the Additional Cost
While meals are usually provided to the new mom during her hospital stay, meals are not typically free for partners or birth coaches. Avoid the additional costs of vending machines and items from the cafeteria menu by packing lots of good snacks for your plus one during the hospital stay.