Can You Eat Immediately After Giving Birth?

When you're heading into the final stretch of pregnancy, the questions about labor start flying at you hard and fast. Sure, most everything centers around the act of safely bringing your baby into the world. But you can't forget about your own needs at this time, either. For instance, can you eat immediately after giving birth? Because the miracle of life is great and all, but sometimes mama needs waffles. Or chicken. Or pizza.

Chances are, you'll be straight-up starving by the time your baby arrives. Thankfully, the tradition of eating only ice chips during labor has relaxed a bit, and according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, a light meal during labor may help you keep up the energy needed to finish strong. That said, labor is still no walk in the park. As noted in Parents, the process of labor may take an average of 8 to 14 hours. So it's no wonder you probably feel famished by the time you're done.

In most cases, you should be able to eat as soon as your delivery is complete. When your baby is whisked off to the nursery, for instance, you may be presented with a food tray right away. And as noted in What To Expect, it's a good idea not to skip any meals during the rest of your hospital stay, even if hospital food is not your jam. If you deliver via C-section, however, you may need to wait a few hours until you're able to eat again, as noted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Every birth is unique, and then even applies to the timing of your first meal as a new mom.

Once you're able to eat, don't hesitate to reach out to family and friends for some tasty grub. You may not be able to leave the hospital just yet, but well-wishers who come to visit can certainly pick up your favorite sandwich or burger on the way. (Seriously, showering new moms with the food of their choice should be a cultural norm). In no time, you'll be able to share meals with your new baby as well.