The Role of Nutrition in Preterm Labor
Depending upon what the diet is lacking, and length of deficiency, labor may begin before or more frequently just after, the point where blood volume should have peaked. A lack of adequate blood volume is why hydration with oral or IV fluids is a temporary stop-gap measure which, in some cases, forestalls the onset of labor. Of course, a well nourished woman may temporarily become dehydrated and in such cases "catching up" on her hydration may calm the uterus down. However, if a contracted blood volume is the real reason the body can no longer support the pregnancy, hydration will offer no permanent solution. Neither will any drug. Bed rest, while widely recommended for preterm labor, is described as ineffective by ACOG. Unless a woman has a cervical anomaly which causes it to open under pressure, bed rest only serves to spare calories by reducing a woman's activity level. This is backward thinking. Instead, salt, calorie and protein intake must be increased to ensure the mother is taking in what she needs for her individual stress and activity levels.
-Anne Frye, "The Role of Nutrition in {Preterm Labor," Midwifery Today Issue 36

Reprinted from Midwifery Today E-News (Vol 1 Issue 32, Aug 6, 1999)
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