Got energy?  Normal birth requires sustenance.  It is among the most physical activity ANY human will ever accomplish but it is unique to the woman’s body.  The work of labor has been compared to marathon running in terms of preparation but then some say that athletic training is for endurance and extreme activity.  That analogy is well written here at True Face of Birth.

If we say ‘labor’ is an ‘extreme’ activity then do we mean birth is to be highly managed and a medical event?  NO!  Birth is a natural, physical event our bodies were designed to do.  Even how much energy we burn…it is possible that the stores we use are very different and that is why we don’t burn calories in such a way that we lose weight just giving birth.  The calories then are very much needed for the survival of both mother and baby. 

The human body has muscles designed for short bursts of activity and some designed for long term activity.  The energy stores in our bodies are the same, some store short term energy needs and some store the long term energy needs.  Running is an activity in which some people are naturally inclined towards sprinting and some are made for distance running whereas in birth all women are designed to labor as their baby needs them to.

A marathon works out just one body that many can adapt to by training.  Males and females can prepare for a marathon.

Only women can give birth because their bodies aren’t just a skeletal plan…they are a whole design.  Take a look at the elevations of the female pelvis and notice the beautiful stretchy band that allows our pelvises to shape around our babies.  If only you could see the hormones (you can smell them though!) that we have that are unique to labor and the wonder that our glands secrete even more of these hormones the higher the intensity of our birth and possibly is why women express that they must have been in denial when they tell the story of their very fast birth.  Each mother-baby pair is unique, each birth is something a little different.  It’s that something that is why the woman’s body is designed the way it is: it can birth through an astounding number of labor and birth scenarios.  Talk to someone who knows normals birth…we’ve seen face presentations, different types of breech presentations, babies that have flipped breech/vertex, babies that remained posterior throughout, babies rotating out of posterior and back (no pun intended).  Women’s bodies have adjusted wholly…physically, mentally and emotionally to birth their babies spontaneously over intact perineums.

When you read of athletes who say their birth was a struggle don’t let it turn you off to believing you can’t birth naturally if you’re not a fitness buff.  Look at the details behind the birth announcement: it still comes down to did you labor of your own design?  We release the energy we need when we need it, naturally.  We know exercise strengthens our bodies and the female body is susceptible to osteoporosis.  It’s quite possible that giving birth with both feet on the ground will also help us in our later years.  Birth is a ‘whole woman’s health’ event.  

We draw from the energy around us and need support that is not afraid of birth.  

Take care of your body in labor and it will take care of you!  So, where’s the REAL food in YOUR birth plan?

Joni Nichols in Mexico writes this of Plenitud, the birth center in Guadalajara, Mexico:


Our moms are required to bring a cooler with food with them.  We’ve had everything from left over stews to freshly made tuna or salmon salad. Often they will just bring the “fixings” ham, cheese, tomatoes, avocadoes, etc  and the doula assembles the sandwiches.   All bring fruits, yoghurts and yummy favorites.  Recently the couple brought a wonderful collection of chocolate; chocolate cookies, Belgian chocolate bars, Nutella etc.  The American couples seem to lean towards peanut butter sandwiches.


In March a mom asked for her first vaginal check mid morning.  She was at 10cm.  Said she was hungry and ambled with her husband to the hospital’s cafeteria to have breakfast.


I still regret not taking the photo of her empty plates stacked in front of her when we walked over to join her at the end of the meal.  For that matter it would have been fun to have photos of the plates full too!


She had eggs, beans, tortillas.


Came back to the room and got in the tub and had a baby!


Three years ago a couple requested tortas…nice big thick sandwiches which the mother ate while hanging over the tub edge.  Her birth ended in the operating room…not something any of us were happy about obviously but it did “test” that old saw about not eating before surgery.


She said she was happy she didn’t go that route hungry since she was limited to just liquids for the first 6-8 hours afterwards.