Nurse-Midwifery M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Vingors, Julie Ann


Background/Purpose: The purpose of this critical review of literature was to examine the risks and benefits of oral intake during labor and determine if oral intake is beneficial in promoting and supporting positive labor outcomes and maternal satisfaction without increasing risk associated with aspiration and poor birth outcomes. Theoretical/Conceptual Framework: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was used to guide this literature review. Abraham Maslow’s theory on the hierarchy of needs determined that basic human needs must be met before needs of a higher order are addressed. Methods: Twenty research articles that were applicable to the scope of oral intake during labor and the associated risks and benefits were reviewed. Results/Findings: Maternal, fetal and labor outcomes were not negatively or positively affected by oral nutrition during labor of either solid food or oral hydration. Maternal satisfaction with labor experience was improved with the autonomy and self-determination that came from unrestricted oral intake during labor. Conclusion: Oral nutrition does not improve or alter labor, maternal or neonatal outcomes. Oral nutrition in labor is related to improved maternal satisfaction related to labor experience. Implications for Research and Practice: Continued research with larger studies sizes are needed to establish the risk and benefits, as well as best practice regarding oral consumption during labor. Research to determine the significance of increasing ketone levels in maternal circulation and as well as the actual risk of pulmonary aspiration associated with oral intake during labor are needed.

Degree Name

M.S. Nurse-Midwifery

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis