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Sister, due to give birth in France, has been told she isn't allowed to eat or drink during labour. Huh? Anyone know if this is a translation mistake?

(32 Posts)
linspins Sun 25-May-14 09:39:43

She is due in June, and has been for a visit to the hospital. During the tour, they were told they weren't allowed to eat or drink during labour. The talk was in French, which she only speaks a tiny bit of. I can't imagine it's at all sensible or safe not to drink, at the very least! Does anyone have a better idea of what is allowed in French hospitals? Thanks ladies.

JellyStrawberries Sun 25-May-14 09:52:43

That's standard in some hospitals, I'm sure it is or was common in the US and France has a very medicalised approach to birth (generalising) so it doesn't surprise me. It's in case a general anaesthetic is needed for an emergency CS in case food is accidentally inhaled. It's based on a very small and unlikely risk and its not common advice now, but it definitely used to be. They will probably let her suck ice chips I think. It's a shame if that is the case, the midwife was bringing me tea and toast as it's important to have the energy for labour and definitely important to stay hydrated. Does your sister have any options besides that particular hospital?

JellyStrawberries Sun 25-May-14 09:53:34

Second 'in case' should be 'and'!

I wasnt allowed to eat in labour either (in Scotland) - in case of emergency CS probably. I was allowed to drink though.

qazxc Sun 25-May-14 09:58:47

I've been googling a few french sites for you. Nothing about not drinking but they do say that some hospitals may not allow food during labour in case they need to give an anastetic (sorry i know the spelling is wrong). They also say that as you are pushing it wouldn't do much good as your body would put digestion on the back burner IYSWIM.
It does sound to me that they are talking about the second stage of labour though not the early one and nothing about not drinking so far. Maybe your sister could ask for them to clarify the rules for her?

Primrose123 Sun 25-May-14 10:00:30

I wasn't allowed to eat or drink in labour, and this was in the UK seventeen years ago. It was about twenty hours and I was dying for a drink, but they wouldn't let me. We had bought new flannels for DH to use on my forehead but instead he was giving them to me and I was sucking the cold water out of them.

I would have felt so much better if I had had toast and a drink. sad

qazxc Sun 25-May-14 10:00:42

I agree with PP that giving birth in France does tend to be more medicallised (ie 87% have an epidural).

weatherall Sun 25-May-14 10:03:21

It's part of the very medicalised birth process in France.

She will be allowed ice chips (whoopee do!)

Can she not nip back to the UK?

I know I really wouldn't want to give birth in France.

Fissawissa Sun 25-May-14 10:37:26

I wasn't lowed to drink or eat 5 years ago in Ireland!
I took to drinking gaviscon to quench my thirst

frankiebuns Sun 25-May-14 12:21:46

I was allowed to drink lucazade but only 2 bottles I was induced and eventually had emcs tbh I was in so much pain I forgot about drinking and eating

My first 2 were hospital births 11 and 8 years ago and I wasn't allowed to eat in labour and only drink water. Tbh the second time my mum would pop chocolate squares in my mouth when I asked her to because I had a massive craving in labour for chocolate all 3 times usually hate the stuff.
Third time at home could obviously eat and drink as I wished.

Claxonia Sun 25-May-14 12:30:51

This was true for me in France, was allowed to spray water into mouth but not drink. Did get epidurals as soon as I asked though, which I was grateful for!

SizzlesSit Sun 25-May-14 12:34:31

Ive given birth twice in France. Both times told I wasnt allowed to eat or drink once at the hospital. Both times advised to eat and drink before coming in.

I was allowed an evian face spray.

It wasnt too bad during labour. The worst was that I wasnt allowed to eat or drink for 2/3 hours after the birth (in case of complications). Really needed a drink by that point!

Still, generally my experiences in France were positive and my post-labour complication recently was very well identified and handled.

The hardest thing to get my head around was that you have to stay in hospital until baby is at least 3 days and has started putting on weight...

SizzlesSit Sun 25-May-14 12:36:38

Oh and there are lots of MNers who have given birth in France so if she has any other questions dont hesitate to ask!

ppeatfruit Sun 25-May-14 12:43:55

Blimey Sizzles I had dd1 34 years ago in West London Hospital and HAD to stay in for 7 days (after a normal VD) how things have changed!

nicename Sun 25-May-14 12:45:34

I was told that it was the norm (like shaving and enemas) in some places/time periods because it was assumed that you would vomit during labour.

I had nice cups of tea when I was in labour (it was nighttime so I wasn't hungry).

Seriously, who is going to try to wrestle a sandwich from the hands of a labouring woman?

Artandco Sun 25-May-14 12:48:36

I think even in the uk it's not recommended to eat much incase you need surgery. Drinks fine and odd energy sweets etc. having surgery on a full stomach allows for more conplications

I wasn't allowed to eat during labour in London, just four years ago. I then had a CS and wasn't allowed to eat for a while after that so I didn't eat anything for 30 hours basically.

My SILs gave birth in France, they each had a private room and at night the nurses will look after your baby so you can sleep. Sounds good to me.

babyboomersrock Sun 25-May-14 12:53:47

It used to be 'normal' not to eat or drink during labour (in hospital). Maybe a glass of water if you were very hot.

I had no desire to eat once labour had kicked in - I am always surprised to hear of women eating "to keep their strength up". Unless you're in labour for days on end, I imagine your last meal would see you through.

I did enjoy the tea and toast afterwards though.

Pregnantagain7 Sun 25-May-14 13:49:10

I wasn't allowed to eat when I was in labour with my last two children because I was being induced, and in case I needed I c section and that was in england. With my first I was allowed to eat had a tracker bar and the lot came straight back up. The midwife said that it really common not to be able to eat anything when you're in labour.

linspins Sun 25-May-14 14:49:24

Thanks everyone. She's generally quite positive about the way it all seems to be handled in France, although she did say it's very common for epidurals. There are good things - aroma therapy in labour, private rooms and baby massage, to balance out the medicalised approach. I have advised her to be clear (militant) in her wishes, e.g. What birthing position she wants, whether to have epidural etc, and to drink if she needs it. I don't think I ate much myself once in labour, maybe the odd biscuit bar etc, but I did drink things.
She's a little apprehensive about the long stay, but again, there are good bits like hopefully she'll get well looked after.
I'm over in France now for a few days helping her nest!

5madthings Sun 25-May-14 15:00:37

They can't stop you from eating! They can recommend you don't and no drinking is madness as delivery rooms are often quite warm. Being dehydrated is not good for Mum or baby.

I was told to eat in one Labour as I had ketones? In my urine?

With ds1 I was in labour fir three days, first labours can be long and drawn out and you do need to keep your energy up, you certainly need to keep hydrated.

You may not feel like eating, I was encouraged to drink by midwives.

In my Labour with ds3 I was eating carrots and celery and pretzels! Craved them throughout pregnancy.

I had stuff like flapjack etc to help with energy levels.

My short labours ie under thfree hours I drank, but didnt eat. But tea and toast after was the best!

5madthings Sun 25-May-14 15:05:04

I was induced with all 5 of mine and still steer drank as I wanted.

Btw if you drink then make sure to wee regularly, a full bladder can slow the descent of baby.

expatinscotland Sun 25-May-14 15:08:17

I'd take the French experience as opposed to the UK one any day, especially the postnatal care.

Hulababy Sun 25-May-14 15:55:52

I assume the bit drinking thing must only be for active labour and some leeway for extended labours; or are extended labours prevented?

I was in the labour ward for several hours. I could t have gone without water all that time.

I didn't really eat for more than 2 days though. Had toast straight after my first induction gel on the wed night but beyond that very little at all next day and nothing til after she was born the Friday night. I couldn't have eaten - sickness and just a general inability. I was allowed to drink water though even after an epidural and before/after a c section.

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