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Eating During Labor, with Rebecca Dekker

The Birthful Podcast: Episode #27

In this episode of the Birthful Podcast, I talk to Rebecca Dekker of Evidence Based Birth about evidence based labor practices, and specifically about eating and drinking during labor. It turns out that many hospital labor practices are not based on evidence, and can in fact be detrimental to the process. How can you know what is what? Rebecca has the answer.


To listen here, click the play button on the player above, or click the button below to listen in iTunes.



What we talked about:

  • The 3 “legs” of Evidence Based birth
  • Where did the idea of not eating during labor come from?
  • What does “risk of aspiration” have to do with being struck by lightning?
  • Studies show that 80% of women were not allowed to eat during labor
  • It’s your (low-risk) labor and you can eat if you want to
  • How can IV fluids affect your baby’s weight?
  • Handouts to discuss with your care provider
  • Following the evidence so you don’t have to: inductions for big baby, failure to progress, vitamin-K shot, waterbirth, doulas, fetal monitoring.


Links for more on evidence-based maternity:

And if you want to dig into the research yourself:


UK College of Nursing Faculty, 082310
Courtesy of Rebecca Dekker
About Rebecca Dekker

Rebecca Dekker is Assistant Professor of Nursing at a research-intensive university in the U.S. She received her Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the University of Kentucky and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Although her academic research career began with a focus on testing treatments for depression in people with heart conditions, Rebecca has built a strong reputation in maternal and child circles for her pioneering work as the founder of Evidence Based Birth®. The mission of Evidence Based Birth is to get research evidence into the hands of mothers and families, inspiring them to make more informed decisions about their care.

Rebecca serves as a peer reviewer for maternal health research journals, volunteers on the advisory board for, and has presented to a number of leading organizations in the birthing field, including the American College of Nurse Midwives, the March of Dimes, and Lamaze and DONA International.

Find out what other birth topics Rebecca is tackling at, or join the conversation on Facebook.


Adriana Lozada


Linda Wiley

a grandmother of 4 with younger friends having their first babies, I am so glad to find this information to share! One question – is there any way to get a transcript of this interview? My reason is that some of my friends are not native English speakers and audio is often hard to follow, especially without video to help understand. Also, review and discussion of all the information with their husbands and others would be easier using a transcript. Thanks so much!

Adriana Lozada

Hi! I’m glad you are enjoying the podcasts! Currently I don’t have transcripts of the interviews. But I will certainly consider the option for the future.