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Medical News & Perspectives
March 10, 2010

Experts, Organizations Debate Whether Women in Labor Can Safely Eat and Drink

JAMA. 2010;303(10):927-928. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.235

Should women in labor eat and drink if they want to? Yes, say some groups and researchers, citing possible psychological and physical benefits that they believe far outweigh the oft-cited risk of aspiration under general anesthesia. But 2 major US medical societies say no, because of a lack of data on adverse event rates associated with aspiration.

While this paucity of data has led the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) to take a conservative view of the issue, others use the dearth of data to argue for liberalizing guidelines on food and drink intake.

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