Oral carbohydrate intake is known to improve outcomes in patients undergoing general surgery. It is also used by athletes to improve their performance. Labor also involves significant physical activity where pain and stress may have a doubling effect on basal metabolic rate. The practice of many anesthesiologists has been to withhold oral intake for women in labor due to concerns about gastric aspiration. However, in some countries oral intake of fluid and a light diet during labor are being allowed based on some recent research. Numerous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been performed over the years to assess if oral carbohydrate supplementation could have a positive impact on labor outcomes. This current systematic review attempted to determine this impact using an individual patient data meta-analysis.
School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK