|Posted on September 24, 2013 at 1:51 AM|
Info Sheet: NPO non per os nil by mouthRestricting food and drink is still a common practice in many hospital settings. Here is our presentation of the information so you can make an informed decision for your labor:
Definition: Non Per Os or Nil By Mouth
From Wikipedia :
Why was it adopted in labor? What was it supposed to treat?
Restricting food and drink was supposed to prevent Mendelson’s Syndrome. It is a condition…it is a theory that there is an increased risk of the stomach contents entering the lungs…here is a little history from About.com :
Has it been effective: as in, has the incidence decreased or has a problem been solved as a result of the intervention/procedure/test?
From About.com 
*Pros and Cons
Theoretically: if you have an empty stomach, you are easier to treat. In reality: very hard to justify one. The idea of an “empty stomach” is a fallacy, and anesthetic techniques and training are vastly improved since the initial hypothesis about the link between aspiration and pneumonia in the 1950’s. You have to evaluate how you feel about this statement: “Labor is not an illness to be treated – it is a natural event that needs to be supported.”
Most telling is this practice guideline published by the anesthesiologist in 2007. The folks doing the anesthesia are saying it is safe for low-risk mothers to eat and drink in labor, even with anesthesia, and go so far as to make recommendations about the type of foods that can be eater:
From the Practice Guidelines from An Updated Report by the American Society of Anesthesiologists Task Force on Obstetric Anesthesia 
Resources with other options to explore if you want to negotiate for unrestricted eating and drinking in labor – maybe you will “compromise” and get “clear fluids”. These are more studies and articles that demonstrates that eating and drinking in labor is a sound evidence-based practice:
1.) Singata M, Tranmer J, Gyte GML. Restricting oral fluid and food intake during labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD003930. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003930.pub3.
2.) Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health (2013, August 22). Restricting food and fluids during labor is unwarranted, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130822141954.htm
3.) Wiley-Blackwell (2010, January 22). Eating and drinking during labor: Let women decide, review suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 10, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119213043.htm
4.) Summary of these three articles in our blog post “Can I Eat and Drink in Labor?”
Did you eat and/or drink during your labor? Did you worry about it? What was your thought process?
April 2007 - Volume 106 - Issue 4 - pp 843-863
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