One of the most often asked by mothers-to-be is whether they can have snacks. After all, some labor can stretch on for hours, leaving a mom famished just when she needs energy the most.
You must be wondering what you should pack in your bag, and you are not alone.
The good news is that many expectant mothers can have healthy snacks while in labor.
If your healthcare team approves, you should think about the hospital snacks. Snacks for labor can give you a burst of energy essential for childbirth.
Talk with your obstetrician, midwife, or doula to see if snacks for labor can be a healthy part of your birth plan. Also, great news – you won’t have to do a last-minute internet search along the lines of “healthy snacks for the hospital bag” because I’ve put together a list of the best snacks for your hospital bag. Let’s dive right in!
- Why Should I Pack Hospital Snacks?
- What to Look for in Snacks for Hospital Bag
- What Snacks Should I Pack in My Hospital Bag?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Fuel Your Body and Your Baby
Why Should I Pack Hospital Snacks?
Labor earns its name. Becoming fully dilated and ready to push is hard work. Not only that, but labor can take a long time. Moms giving birth can get hungry and dehydrated during those hours of labor.
Healthy hospital snacks will give you the energy and hydration needed for labor and active childbirth.
Bringing extra hospital snacks is a smart idea, as the father and your family may be there with you, cheering you on during the childbirth process. You may want a snack later after your precious baby has entered the world.
What to Look for in Snacks for Hospital Bag
When you’re planning for your childbirth experience, you’ll want to pack your hospital bag ahead of time and keep it by the door or in your car, so it’s ready at a moment’s notice. If your care team thinks hospital snacks should be part of your hospital bag, here are some things to consider.
Are They Nonperishable?
If you want to pack snacks to take to the hospital, they mustn’t need refrigeration. That way, you can have them packed up several weeks in advance, ready to go whenever labor begins. Beef jerky, nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, applesauce, and juice boxes are just a few of the options for shelf-stable snacks that will be fresh when needed.
Do They Provide Nutrients?
The best snacks to pack in your hospital bag are ones that will fuel the body for the rigors of childbirth. Don’t pack candy bars, potato chips, or other snacks full of empty calories.
Those will only give you a burst of sugar energy at best, leaving you with a sharp decrease in energy later. Instead, choose snacks with healthy nutrients that will provide prolonged energy over the hours of childbirth and recovery.
How Much Room Will They Take Up?
Snacks to pack in your hospital bag should be small enough that they don’t take up a lot of space. Pocket-sized snacks are best for a hospital bag since they won’t weigh much or take up space you’ll need for clothes and personal items.
Will You Need Utensils?
Hospital snacks that require utensils are more challenging to enjoy while in labor. The best hospital snacks are finger foods that you could eat without a knife, fork, or spoon.
Do You Enjoy Them?
Don’t pack healthy snacks that you don’t enjoy eating. Childbirth is stressful, so you’ll want to pack healthy snacks that you enjoy eating every day. The day you’re giving birth is not the time to try eating something new. Instead, eat familiar snacks that you know will agree with your stomach and give you energy.
What Snacks Should I Pack in My Hospital Bag?
Keeping hospital snacks handy can help mothers in labor continue to be active in childbirth, but you may wonder which snacks for labor are best. Here’s our roundup of the 10 best snacks for hospital bags.
Single-serving bags of nuts such as almonds, cashews, or peanuts can give a mother protein and healthy fats that will keep them energized and full during the sometimes long process of labor and childbirth. These are small enough to slip into a pocket and are healthy snacks for after the baby’s born, too.
- High in protein
- Good source of healthy fats
- Stays fresh without refrigeration
- Crunching and chewing is required
- Salt may cause thirst
A first cousin to individual bags of nuts is trail mix in single-serving bags. These often include bits of candy-coated chocolate that will give a mom-to-be an energy burst with a touch of sweetness.
- Plenty of protein
- Good source of healthy fats
- Packs energy from multiple sources
- Can be high in sugar
- Can require two hands to eat
Individual applesauce pouches don’t require a spoon and are easy for a mother to sip during labor. Fiber, fructose, vitamins, and hydration are benefits of applesauce, which is known for being easy to digest.
- Easy to eat and can be sipped
- Easy to digest
- Energy and fiber from apples
- Watch for sugar and carbohydrates
Jerky and Meat Snacks
Pure protein is what jerky and meat snacks pack, and many available now are organic and don’t have added sugar.
- High in protein
- Low in sugar
- Will keep moms full while providing energy for birth and recovery
- Not a choice for vegans and vegetarians
- Not as easy to digest as other healthy snacks for labor
Cranberries, raisins, mango, apricot, and dates are just a few of the dried fruit options available. Mini boxes of dried fruit are easy to find, or you can pack your own snack-size bags of dried fruit to include as hospital snacks for labor.
- Great for an energy boost
- Can be packed ahead of time
- Fiber can aid regularity after childbirth
- Dried fruits can have high levels of natural fruit sugars and carbohydrates
Carbs that are easy on the stomach are just what a mom in labor needs to prevent nausea and provide energy. Including your favorite crackers as healthy hospital snacks are easy – individual packages of cheese crackers, graham crackers, saltines, and others are easy. Bring extra for family members who may be there to support you.
- Easy to digest
- Crackers stay fresh for long periods
- Variety of flavors range from sweet to savory
- Watch for salt and sugar content
Fiber, carbohydrates, protein, and dried fruit for energy come in one neat granola bar package. Some bars offer peanut butter for protein and healthy fats. The fiber will help in regularity after childbirth, too.
- Easy to pack in hospital bag
- Fiber will help moms with regularity after childbirth
- Granola offers a sweet energy burst and carbohydrates to keep moms-to-be satisfied for hours
- Watch sugar content, as some granola bars can rival candy bars in sugar content.
Protein meal bars offer everything needed for nutrition in a tasty package. Some think of protein bars as something an athlete would enjoy, but labor and childbirth are as demanding as a marathon on a mother’s body.
- Plenty of protein and other nutrients
- Small enough to slip into a pocket of a hospital bag
- Can replace a meal
- Taste-test protein bars before going to the hospital so you know you have a brand and flavor you like
Pretzels are a healthy snack since they’re baked. They stay fresh for a long time, meaning they can be packed in a hospital bag more than a month ahead. Dip in an individual container of peanut butter for added protein and healthy fats.
- Pretzels are low in fat
- Individual bags of pretzels stay fresh and crunchy for weeks
- Pretzels are tasty after childbirth, too
- Watch sodium content
- Could make mothers in labor thirsty
While yogurt is a healthy snack for labor, it does require refrigeration to stay fresh. Packing yogurt in a hospital bag will require the extra step of getting it out of the refrigerator on the way to the hospital.
However, individual yogurt pouches are easy for a mom to sip on during labor and childbirth. Yogurt pouches can be frozen, which will keep them fresh during labor and give a mom a cool hospital snack that’s high in calcium.
- Easy to eat
- Good source of protein and calcium
- Variety of flavors
- Watch sugar content in flavored yogurts
- Yogurt has to be refrigerated, so it can’t be packed ahead of time with other hospital snacks for labor
Frequently Asked Questions
You may still have questions about hospital snacks, but don’t search the internet for “snacks for hospital bag” or “snacks to pack in the hospital bag.” These FAQs about snacks for labor may give you all the answers you need.
Why Pack a Hospital Bag?
Having your favorite personal items and healthy snacks is comforting during labor and childbirth. Packing a hospital bag with these items plus healthy hospital snacks before you’re in labor and keeping it in your car or by the door will make going to the hospital easier.
What Might Prevent Eating Snacks for Labor?
Moms who are most likely to be able to have snacks during labor are those planning to give birth naturally. C-sections, epidurals, and other medical procedures may make snacks for labor a health risk. Some mothers are not allowed to eat before procedures, and others may be required to be on a diet of clear liquids.
Talk with your obstetrician, doula, or midwife to see whether snacks for labor are a good idea for adding to your hospital bag.
Are Different Nutrients Needed for Labor’s Stages?
Mothers who want the best snacks for hospital bags may discover that labor starts at home. They may be home for hours before it’s time to go to the hospital. High-quality carbohydrates such as beans and rice, whole grains, and sweet potatoes can help mothers have the sustained energy to move into active labor.
During active labor, fruits, nut butter, and carbohydrates can give mothers-to-be the energy they need to move through the active labor stage into pushing and childbirth.
During all stages of labor and childbirth, it is important to hydrate with water or fruit juices. Ice chips and popsicles can be other ways mothers in labor can hydrate during childbirth.
Are There Perishable Snacks that are Good Snacks for Labor?
While snacks that need refrigeration and frozen snacks aren’t good snacks for hospital bags when packing ahead of time, these snacks can be part of labor and childbirth. In addition to yogurt pouches, vegetable sticks, and slices, hummus, cheese, cottage cheese, and turkey slices wrapped around string cheese are healthy snacks for labor that are also delicious.
Keep cold snacks in your refrigerator until you are ready to go to the hospital. Carrying them in a cooler or thermal bag with an ice pack will keep them fresh if you don’t have a refrigerator. You can store frozen snacks like popsicles, frozen grapes, and frozen blueberries at the hospital if you have access to a freezer there.
Do Hospitals Provide Snacks for Labor?
The answer to this frequently asked question depends on the hospital. Many hospitals will provide ice chips and popsicles to help nauseated mothers stay hydrated, but other snacks are not usually offered during labor and childbirth. Hospitals do provide patients with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are part of care if eating is allowed.
The best way to make sure that you have the hospital snacks you like is to bring your own from home. It’s a good idea to try these snacks before going into labor to make sure they agree with your system and give you the energy you will need for labor and childbirth.
Why Should I Pack Extra Snacks?
No one wants to run out of healthy snacks just when they’re needed. So pack extra healthy snacks for labor so you won’t run out of them just when you need energy. Since you won’t know how long labor may last, having extra snacks in your hospital bag is smart.
It’s also a good idea to bring snacks for other members of your support team. Since babies often come at times when hospital cafeterias, convenience stores, and medical center gift shops are closed, having snacks for them will keep them from being hungry when they’re by your side.
What About Hydration?
Keeping your body hydrated is essential during the childbirth process. Bring along a favorite water bottle or a bottle of water so you will have something to sip. Pack juice boxes or flavored water in your hospital bag to sip. Chewing gum or lozenges will battle a dry mouth, too.
Fuel Your Body and Your Baby
Packing a hospital bag is an important part of planning your childbirth experience. Your hospital bag should include essentials such as a change of clothes, a comfy bathrobe, slippers or socks, personal grooming items, and a phone charger.
In addition, for many expectant mothers, the best snacks to pack in hospital bags can be included to help fuel the hard work or labor and childbirth.
Healthy hospital snacks can be comforting favorites that offer a needed refueling break. The best hospital snacks for labor will give you more energy and nutrients to help them through childbirth and recovery. Ask your healthcare and birth team if your hospital bag should include healthy hospital snacks to fuel labor, childbirth, and recovery.
Hi – I’m Alina and I am a soon to be mom going through the journey of becoming a parent. I am a writer at heart and I love sharing about pregnancy tips and other busy mom hacks.