Gluten-Free Pregnancy: The Third Trimester & Childbirth
Told from the perspective of a first-time mother living gluten-free
This is not my son’s birth story.
This is my gluten-free childbirth story.
As I reached my third trimester, the reality of impending childbirth started to sink in. As with any first-time mother, I felt anxious about the birth of my son, but I also had the additional worry of how I was going to keep myself gluten-free during labor and after childbirth.
Have I mentioned I love to eat?
The first step was to complete the pre-registration form for the hospital. I was happy to see that this form included a section on dietary restrictions. I filled out the form and called the hospital to confirm their familiarity with the gluten-free diet. I was assured that the hospital would provide gluten-free meals for me.
I was, as usual, cautiously optimistic.
In an effort to be fully prepared, I also created a list of foods I planned to pack in my hospital food bag and enlisted the help of potential hospital visitors to bring gluten-free snacks in addition to their well-wishes.
Then, I waited.
When I went into labor, I ate light but filling snacks (cheese and gluten-free crackers, trail mix, bananas and peanut butter, etc.) until I was no longer interested in eating. Keep in mind that many hospitals discourage laboring mothers from eating once they check in to the hospital, so plan to do most of your eating while you labor at home. The hospital did provide popsicles and ice chips, and I honestly wasn’t interested in more food than that once active labor began.
After my son was born and we made our joyful introductions, the hunger set in…
I started with the snacks from our visitors, but after 34+ hours of labor, I needed a MEAL.
I was given a bright red bracelet that said ALLERGY!!! (exclamation points implied) and was allowed to choose whatever I wanted from a special menu three times a day—it felt like room service! I was pleased we did not need to implement Plan B, which entailed visitors smuggling gluten-free meals into the hospital for me. Keep in mind that all hospitals are different, so it may be helpful to over-prepare when planning your post-childbirth meals.
With the truly extraordinary experience of childbirth behind me and the awe-inspiring commitment of motherhood ahead of me, it was really nice to have a few days where I didn’t need to worry about food.
For that, I will always be thankful.