(HealthDay News) – For women in labor, high-protein drink supplementation is associated with improved patient satisfaction compared with ice chips/water, and does not increase incidence of nausea or emesis, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, held from Oct. 12–16 in San Francisco.

Benjamin Cobb, MD, from the University of Pittsburg Medical Center, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 150 laboring women requesting labor epidural analgesia to examine whether high-protein drink supplementation in labor decreases nausea and emesis. Participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive a high-protein drink with ice chips/water or ice chips/water alone.

The researchers found that the overall incidences of nausea and emesis were no different between the groups (P=0.38 and 1, respectively), nor were the incidences at the measured time periods (hourly until delivery and one hour post-delivery). Compared with controls, the protein group had significantly higher median patient satisfaction scores. There was no significant difference between the groups in the rates of gastric emptying (P=0.19).

“This study suggests that more liberal general guidelines regarding what a mother can eat and drink during labor should be considered,” a co-author said in a statement. “Doctors should feel comfortable, at least, replacing ice chips and water with high-protein shakes to increase patient satisfaction.”

More Information