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Protein Shakes May Make Childbirth More Satisfying

Update Date: Oct 14, 2013 09:08 PM EDT

Drinking protein shakes may make childbirth a little better, according to a new study.

Researchers found that mothers who drank a protein drinks during childbirth reported higher satisfaction. However, mothers who had protein shakes reported the same nausea and vomiting as those who were only given ice chips.

"Giving birth is a tremendous stress on both mother and baby," researcher Manuel C. Vallejo, M.D., D.M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, said in a news release. "Anything we can do to increase patient satisfaction during labor without increasing adverse events is a major positive. Physicians should feel comfortable replacing ice chips or water with a high-protein drink supplement."

Many women experience nausea and vomiting during childbirth. Restrictions on eating and drinking during childbirth began more than five decades ago when women often gave birth under general anesthesia. This is because the risk of aspiration of food and drink into the lungs can be a potential fatal complication of general anesthesia.

The latest study involved 150 women. The women were divided into two groups. The first groups received a 325 mL, 160 calorie Premiere Nutrition Protein Shake, which contained 30 grams of protein, one gram of sugar, eight amino acids and 24 vitamins and minerals, in addition to ice chips and water. The women in the second group were served only ice chips and water.

Researchers compared the stomach emptying rates of women in the protein drink and ice chips group. Researchers found that stomach emptying rates were comparable in both groups.

Researchers also found no difference in the rates of nausea and vomiting between both groups with comparable emptying rates of the stomach.

However, patient satisfaction scores were higher in the protein shake group.

"This study suggests that more liberal general guidelines regarding what a mother can eat and drink during labor should be considered," explained Vallejo. "Doctors should feel comfortable, at least, replacing ice chips and water with high protein shakes to increase patient satisfaction."

The findings were presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGYTM 2013 annual meeting.

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