“There is insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the relationship between fasting times for clear liquids and the risk of emesis or reflux or both or pulmonary aspiration during labor. Although there is some disagreement, most experts agree that oral intake of clear liquids during labor does not increase maternal complications.
The oral intake of modest amounts of clear liquids may be allowed for patients with uncomplicated labor. The patient without complications undergoing elective cesarean delivery may have modest amounts of clear liquids up to 2 hours before induction of anesthesia. Examples of clear liquids include, but are not limited to, water, fruit juices without pulp, carbonated beverages, clear tea, black coffee, and sports drinks. Particulate containing fluids should be avoided. Patients with risk factors for aspiration (eg, morbid obesity, diabetes, and difficult airway), or patients at increased risk for operative delivery may require further restrictions of oral intake,
“It is important that we don’t unnecessarily restrict a women’s ability to eat or drink during labor,” said Deborah Anderson, CNM, Associate Clinical Professor from the University of California, San Francisco. “In addition to providing hydration, nutrition, and comfort, self-regulating intake decreases a women’s stress level and provides her with a feeling of control.”