Pregnancy Power Balls: Ideal For Labor and Lactation

How exciting! You’re moving ever onwards towards D-Day, and everything’s ready. Your hospital bag is packed, and you’re being careful not to trip over it because you’ve left it near the front door, ready to grab when the time comes. But… is it really ready? Have you really got everything in it?

Not if you’ve forgotten your snacks!

It’s not often mentioned, but snacking during labor – particularly in the early stages – is exceptionally good for you, and for baby. Your body is going to need a lot of energy to get through the work ahead, and snacking on healthy food is a great way to ensure you’re fuelled up and ready to go. Not having enough to eat and drink before labor begins can mean that your body has to help itself to the fatty stores within it, breaking them down to create energy. This is called ketosis, and it’s totally natural, but it can leave you feeling awful, with headaches and nausea being the main symptoms.

Now, most women do suffer from a mild form of ketosis during labor – it’s physically very demanding – but if it kicks in big time, then it could slow or even stop your labor. Your body is incredible at keeping itself safe, and it can shut down to protect itself when necessary. Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing during labor. If your body decides to slow or stop labor, you run the risk of medical or even surgical intervention.

Since labor is so unpredictable and it’s basically impossible to work out how long it is going to take, it’s worthwhile cooking up some tasty – nutritious – snacks in readiness that will keep you going. Not only will these snacks help you through labor, but they will also ensure that you are fit and healthy enough for the first few days of breastfeeding.

Ginger & Almond Tummy Soothing Bites

Within these delicious little snack balls you’ll find the perfect combination of fats, protein, and carbs, so they should definitely be in your hospital bag. Nuts contain amino acids, which in turn create serotonin, serotonin is required for lactation. Almonds are better than most nuts at doing this, and really should be consumed if you want to increase your milk production ahead of time. As for ginger, you may already have been using it throughout your pregnancy, as it is great for settling the stomach and reducing nausea. Some women feel sick during labor – especially if they are suffering from ketosis – so snacks containing ginger will help to combat that.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Ingredients – Makes 12

60g oats

150g roasted almonds

150g medjool dates (pitted)

1tbsp ginger (freshly grated)

1tsp cinnamon

1tbsp cocoa powder

2tsp coconut oil

1tsp honey

Method:

  1. Melt 1tsp of coconut oil in an oven (preheated to 180oC). When the oil is melted, add the nuts and make sure they are completely coated with oil. Bake for 5 minutes.
  2. When the nuts are roasted, whizz them up in a food processor until they are finely ground.
  3. Next add the cinnamon, dates, ginger, honey, cocoa powder, and dates. Whizz up again until it all sticks together.
  4. Roll the mixture into small balls (around 1 inch in diameter). The recipe should make about 12 balls. They can be eaten straight away or stored in the fridge for 7 days.

Oat & Apricot Lactation Balls

Making the most of your milk supply after birth can be one of the most important things you can do for your baby. These little balls of nutrition are full of ingredients that are well known to increase lactation, but they also do other things too. Apricots, for example, contain vitamin A and C, fibre, and potassium, which all go towards postpartum recovery. And the bonus feature of this tasty fruit? Apricots also increase prolactin, and that’s the hormone that sends the message to your body that it needs to make milk. Brilliant. As well as this, we have oats, and they contain saponins. Saponins have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and they contain beta-glucan which is a fibre that also raises the prolactin levels in the body.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Chilling time: 30 minutes

Ingredients – makes 12

50g oats

150g dried apricots

80g cashew nuts

120g cashew nut butter

2 tbsp. shredded coconut

1tsp honey

3tsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Melt 1tsp of coconut oil in an oven (preheated to 180oC). When the oil is melted, add the nuts and make sure they are completely coated with oil. Bake for 5 minutes.
  2. When the nuts are roasted, whizz them up in a food processor until they are finely ground.
  3. Next, add the coconut, coconut oil, apricots, honey, and cashew butter. Whizz it up again until it all sticks together.
  4. Roll the mixture into small balls (around 1 inch in diameter). The recipe should make about 12 balls. They can be eaten straight away or stored in the fridge for 7 days.

Labour Day Energy Balls

Snacks throughout labor might not be the first thing you think of, but they will work wonders at keeping your energy levels up and will fuel your body when it needs energy the most – labor will go much more quickly when your body is working at its optimum. Avocados are superb for this, as they contain fats (good fats) which nourish the body nicely. They also contain a lot of protein – more than most fruits, in fact. Add that to the oats which release energy slowly (they are a form of carbohydrate) and you’ve got everything you need to birth baby safely and efficiently.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Chilling time: 30 minutes

Ingredients – makes 12

85g oats

1 ripe avocado (pitted then mashed)

1tsp honey

100g peanut butter

1tbsp chia seeds

2tbsp chocolate chips

2tbsp shredded coconut

Method:

  1. Mix everything together and, when it is all combined, roll out 12 (approximately) balls, around 1 inch in diameter.
  2. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and put them in the fridge for around 30 minutes. Done!