How Your Sugar Cravings May Keep You from a Normal Labor


I really enjoy being a childbirth Doula.

It is so satisfying to be able to support a mother throughout the process of her birth.  But, as much as I enjoy supporting moms in order to achieve the birth of their dreams I also get devastated for the mamas when birth doesn’t quite go as planned and mamas have to endure medical interventions that they don’t desire.

As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and a Childbirth Doula I love to wrap my head around the mechanisms of the body and how and why they work in order to birth a healthy human being.  I want my moms to be in the best hands possible, of course.   I know that diet is everything for a happy healthy baby.  A healthy baby really starts before a baby is conceived, but if you are still breathing it is never too late to start on the road to good health.  As a future mother eats in order to replenish her nutrients stores she is also preparing the way for a healthy baby, a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth.

Unfortunately, many modern medical practices or midwives don’t teach this information.  Many of us are trained to think that it is important to just gain weight when mama eats, but not what to eat.  Plus, most practitioners aren’t trained to help pregnant mommies understand what foods are important to eat in order to conceive or the foods that are important to nourish your little one during pregnancy.  My passion is healthy babies and healthy mamas.  Those are some of my favorite services to provide.

I wanted to share just a little bit about how your nutrition during pregnancy and childbirth could change the how your birth goes down.

Your pituitary gland is the gland responsible for producing the hormone oxytocin which stimulates contractions during labor and prolactin which stimulates the production of milk. 


The pituitary gland is a pea sized gland located at the base of the brain, just below the hypothalamus.

If you have trouble with keeping your blood sugar balanced (many Americans have this problem) you are most likely exhausting your endocrine system.  Blood sugar dysregulated and stress will pull on the adrenals, thyroid,  and pituitary/hypothalamus. It can cause them to become exhausted and not be able send the hormonal signals that the rest of the body needs to function properly.

During childbirth the under-stimulation of the pituitary gland can potentially be a huge problem.  If your pituitary gland is what produces oxytocin, the hormone responsible for contracting your uterus and is exhausted from dysreulated blood sugar or lots of stress there is the potential for this imbalance to greatly effect the outcome of your birth.

It is very likely that poorly balanced blood sugar and increased stress has exhausted your pituitary and can keep you from having regular, strong labor contractions.  To my knowledge, there has been no research done to in order to point to blood sugar dysregulation (non-diabetes related) increases csections, but I have my suspicions.

Symptoms of Blood Sugar Imbalance 

If you are experiencing a blood sugar imbalance you could experience just some or all of these symptoms.

  • craving sugar, breads and carbohydrates on a regular basis
  • you get tired or cranky when you don’t eat
  • Don’t feel like eating in the mornings
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • mood swings
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • brain fog
  • caffeine addiction

So what can I do to ensure that my pituitary gland is functioning properly?

Keep your blood sugar regulated.  Don’t skip meals. Eat a diet that is high in protein and fats with some added starches.  Make sure you are eating every 2-3 hours especially if you are ever feeling shaky, cranky or exhausted and you notice it is food related.

Test Your Hypothalamus/Pituitary Point.  Nicknamed the “third eye” you can find a point that is above your nose and in-between your eyebrows.  Move your finger just upward a little to make sort of a triangle on your forehead with your finger between your eyes and apply pressure.  If this area is tender it can mean that your endocrine system especially your hypothalamus/pituitary gland need some support.

Apply Frankincense essential oil (I use this brand) diluted in a carrier oil to the pituitary point 2-3 times a day if the area tests sensitive.

For my nutritional therapy/Doula clients, I use a loading dose of Cytozyme PT/HPT in order to encourage repair of the gland so that it can function optimally for labor.

Get plenty of rest.  You may also find that applying frankincense to your pituitary point will help you sleep better.  Restful sleeps is also very helpful in order to nourish your endocrine system.

My experience

I really don’t have any further reading to point you to on this one because I haven’t found any yet.  I honestly have to say that through my nutritional training and what I have seen in clients that this is a theory that I would love to do more research on. I have been thinking about it for a long time as I have observed similar issues in many clients who seem to struggle with their labor kickstarting.  I am so sick and tired of mamas having to have a csection because they are going past their due dates and their babies seem ready.  Plus, many hospitals puts them on a time-table which just slows down the whole process. Mother’s under stress are not able to go into labor.

Some of these same mamas have trouble producing and adequate milk supply so the endocrine and labor connection just seems to make sense to me.  And, I have recently seen a mama (who was clearly ready to give birth) go into labor shortly after I began applying this protocol.  More research needs to be done in order to  see if it was just a coincidence.  But, my gut tells me that it was not.

What you eat during conception, pregnancy and birth does matter.  And, balanced blood sugar is incredibly important.  There is no doubt in my mind.  

It is my hope for you that you will have a beautiful, peaceful birth full of effective contractions in order to have the vaginal birth that you desire.


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  1. This is super interesting! My first and second pregnancies were a night and day difference, but my diet was very different. Totally makes sense now. Sharing with a few of my pregnant friends.
    Kristin recently posted…Simple Grain-Free Chocolate Cake with IcingMy Profile

    • Becky Webb says:

      Thanks Kristin! It is interesting. The more births I am blessed to observe the more this resonates with me.

  2. This makes a lot of sense to me. It’s frustrating that so many conventional medical professionals have no advice about what you should eat during pregnancy and nursing. Nutrition makes a major difference in how you feel, how much energy you have, how often you get sick in general, so it stands to reason that of course it will have a major effect on your body during times when you are asking more of your body than normal. During one of my births I experienced a large loss of blood do to certain circumstances. The doctor I spoke to said I was low enough to need a transfusion and that I would have little to no energy for the next 6 mo. as my blood rebuilt. I was very careful to eat blood nourishing foods and take supplements when I got home and when they rechecked my blood at 2 weeks post-partum, my hematocrit and hemoglobin were back in normal range (and I felt fine as well). Not the same scenario, but clearly nutrition played a major roll in my feeling better much quicker than I “should” have.
    Carolyn recently posted…Golden Prairie Press ReviewMy Profile

  3. Great post! I am going to start the protocol tomorrow. Have to finish up my icecream tonight!

  4. My diet has been pretty similar with all five pregnancies (currently expecting our fifth). I have three boys who were all “overdue” by 2-3 weeks and one daughter who came right on time. For me anyway it seems to have to do with the sex of the child…boys tend to need more “cooking” lol.


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