If you’ve given birth to date, then in addition to labor and delivery pains you likely experienced hunger and thirst pangs as well. While few women crave a giant meal during labor, only being allowed to suck on ice chips and take baby sips of certain liquids to get through hours and hours of the intense work of active labor can feel like a cruel punishment. Women in labor have up to this point been advised not to eat during labor due to the concern that foods could be inhaled into the lungs while under anesthesia. A new study takes into account the changes in anesthesia and pain care practices and suggests that eating a light meal and drinking “mild” liquids during the course of labor can actually be helpful. Anesthesia is usually administered via an epidural or spinal block, which makes the possibility of aspirating foods or liquids minimal. Women in labor have needs that are basically akin to endurance athletes and require energy sources to power them through the transformative experience of giving birth. Without food or drink, the body uses fat for energy and can lead to a reduction in contractions which in turn can affect the length of the labor course and even the health of newborns. Fasting during labor can also lead to emotional stress, also potentially lengthening the labor course. Doctors are encouraged to evaluate laboring patients on an individual basis, but for healthy women a light meal of fruit, soup, a light sandwich, and juices or water could be a beneficial energy source.