Background
Because of the potential aspiration risk, oral intake is restricted during labour.

Aims
To determine whether high‐protein drink supplementation in labour decreases nausea and emesis and promotes patient satisfaction.

Materials and Methods
The study was registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01414478). Labouring women were randomised into two groups: Group P received a high‐protein drink (325 mL) with ice chips/water PRN; and Group C served as control and received only ice chips/water PRN (Study 1). Incidences of nausea and emesis were measured hourly until delivery and at 1 h postdelivery. Patient satisfaction was measured the following day. A secondary aim was to evaluate the rate of gastric emptying (t½) in women who ingested either 325 mL of a high‐protein drink or ice chips/water (Study 2) using ultrasound.

Results
In Study 1, 150 women were recruited (Group P = 75; Group C = 75). There were no differences in the overall incidences of nausea (P = 0.14), emesis (P = 0.15) or in the incidences at the measured time periods (MANOVA, P > 0.05). Median patient satisfaction scores were higher in Group P than in Group C (P = 0.007). In Study 2, 18 additional patients (Group PG = 9; Group CG = 9) were analysed to determine US gastric emptying t½ rates (PG: 25.56 ± 15.90 min [95% CI: 15.17 – 35.94] compared with CG: 20.00 ± 8.70 min [95% CI: 14.34 – 25.66], P = 0.19).

Conclusion
In labour, patient satisfaction is improved with high‐protein drink supplementation compared with ice chips/water with comparable gastric emptying rates.