There is a scientific reason why that first post-birth meal tastes so good 1 year ago

There is a scientific reason why that first post-birth meal tastes so good

Even though I had fairly quick, completely uncomplicated labours with both my babies, let me assure you, I still savoured every bite of the food my midwives brought me once I had given birth.

So much so that I still remember feeling super annoyed with my partner for daring to take sips out of my apple juice. I mean – come on, pal – get your own juice – mama here has just pushed a 10 lbs baby out of my body – I need that cold, delicious apple juice more than you, trust me.

Universally, all mums tend to agree on this – the food they bring you when you have given birth really is all sorts of delicious. In fact, plain as it often is (tea and toast, anyone), it really does feel like the most delicious food you have ever eaten, doesn't it? a real culinary experience – despite its often modest contents.

And as it turns out, there is a reason why we all love that post-birth meal so much.

1. Stress can make us crave things

When we get stressed, our bodies release the stress hormone, cortisol. When cortisol is released, your body increases the rate at which it processes carbohydrates and fat; it does this to make sure you have enough energy to handle the stressful situation you're in. Remember, evolution takes time, so really; our bodies still think we need to be able to run away from bears. Anyway, the result of all this fat and carb-burning is hunger, especially for fat and carbs.

Craved pizza or burgers once you had given birth? Doughnuts? Now you know why.


Pregnancy and birth is often a stressful time for women, we worry if everything is going to be OK, if our babies are going to be healthy, if labour will hurt etc – and the result – higher levels of cortisol – meaning, of course, more hunger.

So it makes sense then, that we are extra excited about that first post-delicery meal. We have been building up to it for a long time.

2. Certain foods make us happier

This sure gives the notion of comfort food a whole new meaning. According to research, certain foods we consume may give us a boost of serotonin, the hormone that helps us to feel happy. One of the ways this happens is by eating foods that contain an amino acid called tryptophan. And this all starts to make sense when you realise that higher levels of tryptophan make it easier for our bodies to make and use serotonin.

In fact, here are some foods that contains high levels of tryptophan – and would you look – several of these can be found in what we have come to know as 'post labour food' in so many maternity hospitals around the globe.

  • Salmon
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Turkey
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Spinach