Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Vingers, Julie Ann


Background/Purpose: Historically women have birthed in their own homes. As birth moved to the hospital, concerns surrounding gastric aspiration following general anesthesia led to restrictive intake policies for laboring women. Current professional recommendations vary regarding nutritional intake in labor. The purpose of this paper is to determine whether there are differences in maternal outcomes when different forms of hydration and nutrition are used during labor. Theoretical Framework: Neuman’s Systems Model was the theoretical framework used to guide the research process. This model includes four systems (client-client, environment, health, and nursing) which work together to promote holistic wellness. Methods: A thorough database search using CINAHL, PubMED, Science Direct, Scopus initially identified 37,155 articles. Inclusion criteria included articles which discussed oral nutrition and hydration during labor and maternal outcomes, English language, Level I-III, and published between 2009-2020. Articles published prior to 2009 were excluded along with Level IV and V articles, and duplicates. Ultimately 25 articles were selected for inclusion. Results/Findings: Oral intake of foods and fluids and intravenous fluids significantly improved the duration of labor, mode of delivery, and reduced the need for oxytocin induction or augmentation without any adverse effects on maternal and neonatal outcomes. Multiple research studies demonstrated that intravenous dextrose fluids significantly reduced labor duration. Restrictions to oral intake during labor can impede the physiological labor process. Implications for Research and Practice: Providing intravenous dextrose fluids and eliminating the prohibition of oral intake during labor may improve labor outcomes. By allowing women to eat and drink during labor and recommending beneficial options, the physiological need for nutrition is honored. Nurse-Midwives embrace midwifery's art and science as they partner with women through education, counseling, and shared decision-making. Women are provided with the space to make those decisions for their own body's needs.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis