Eating well just before birth

A Healthy Diet Just Before and Just After Giving Birth

(image via tomhe on Flickr)

Most women realize that a healthy diet is essential during pregnancy, but not everyone knows that dietary needs change just before and just after birth. Your body’s nutritional needs change slightly as your body gears up for the major event of giving birth. You can help to ease the birth process by listening to and accommodating those needs. Following a special diet in the three weeks prior to your due date through the four days after giving birth will prepare your body to give birth and get lactation and breastfeeding off to the best start.

Different cultures all have different pre-birth dietary traditions, but the book Healing Our Children recommends the diet formulated by researcher Dr. Bieler. Dr. Bieler studied many different cultures and their pregnancy rituals before coming up with three recommendations for a pre-birth and immediately post-birth diet. Here are those recommendations, starting about three weeks before your baby is due:

  1. Get rid of starchy foods like breads, pastries, crackers and potatoes. Your diet should already be low in these foods if you are following a healthy pregnancy diet, but cutting them out of your diet altogether will help prepare your body for the work of birth that is ahead.
  2. Eat lots of fruit, raw and cooked vegetables, and raw milk. Raw milk products are especially important for building up your body’s stockpile of nutrients needed during the birth process. Raw fruits and vegetables also help to boost your vitamin and mineral supply just before birth.
  3. Avoid strawberries, seedless grapes, cantaloupe, and cranberries.

A Special Moisturizer

Another dietary suggestion from Healing Our Children involves using a moisturizing formula beginning three weeks before birth. This formula is not meant to be slathered on your skin; rather, it will moisturize your skin, joints and tissues from the inside out. This is especially important for avoiding perineal tearing during the birth process since moisturized vaginal tissues stretch easier and are much less likely to tear during birth.

The author of Healing Our Children got this helpful recipe from Dr. Aajonus Vonderplanitz, author of The Recipe for Living Without Disease. Drink this formula at room temperature once a day for about three weeks prior to birth:


    • 1-2 raw organic eggs
    • 2-4 ounces raw butter
    • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1-2 teaspoons raw unheated honey


Blend all these ingredients together, and drink the resulting shake just after consuming a meal that includes meat. About five days before you’re due to give birth, you can start adding about 2 tablespoons of bee pollen and 2 tablespoons of raw cheese to the drink, which can help moisturize your ligaments even more.

Eating During Labor

Dr. Bieler suggests not eating at all during or directly after labor, but this applies mainly to women who have eaten a great pregnancy diet and have a high store of nutrients in their bodies. If your pregnancy diet has not been as healthy as it should have been, you might need the extra boost that eating can give you during labor. But as always, it is important to listen to your body. If you feel like eating and need the energy boost, it is okay to go ahead and have a healthy snack during labor. It is important to eat small amounts, though, because your body will process foods very slowly during labor. Eating too much at once may result in nausea and vomiting.

Drinking during labor, however, is very important. You will need to keep your body hydrated, especially during a long labor. Sip on pure water or herbal remedies, such as red raspberry leaf tea which can increase the strength of uterine contractions and shorten labor. You can also use hot tea made with ghee to make the birth canal more slippery, which will help the baby come out more easily. Ask your midwife or doula about herbal drinks you can try during labor and delivery to stay hydrated, ward off fatigue, and make labor more effective.

Curious about what else you can do to make labor and delivery smoother by making good food choices before and during labor? Check out the book Healing Our Children. It has a great focus on a healthy pregnancy diet, but it can also give you plenty of tips on staying healthy and energized throughout labor and delivery and during the postpartum period.

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