A multicenter interdisciplinary survey of practices and opinions regarding oral intake during labor

the Food in Labor Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Different society guidelines diverge regarding oral intake in labor. Our goal was to assess practices and opinions in Israeli labor and delivery units, comparing different disciplines. Methods: An anonymous Google Forms survey was sent to anesthesiologists, obstetricians and midwives in all Israeli labor and delivery units. Results: Responses were collected from all 27 labor and delivery units contacted, with a total of 501 respondents comprising 161 anesthesiologists, 102 obstetricians and 238 midwives. Forty-eight per cent stated there were no institutional guidelines for oral intake. The most common oral intake permitted was light food (60%). Midwives were significantly more likely than anesthesiologists and obstetricians to consider that women who are both low risk for cesarean delivery (P <0.00001) and high risk for cesarean delivery (P=0.001) should eat. Epidural analgesia did not impact recommendations regarding oral intake. The most common reasons for restricting oral intake were obstetric. Sixty-two per cent identified aspiration as the main risk associated with eating during labor, but 19% of midwives compared with 4% of anesthesiologists and obstetricians stated there were no risks (P <0.00001). The annual delivery volume of the unit did not impact staff practices. Conclusions: There was a discrepancy between opinions and practices across all disciplines. Permissive practices identified in this survey should be addressed to find the safe middle ground between restrictive and permissive policies for low- and high-risk women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103598
JournalInternational Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Fasting guidelines
  • Labor
  • Maternal safety
  • Oral intake


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