IV Fluids

IV Fluids

Intravenous Fluids

From The Official Lamaze Guide: Giving Birth with Confidence.

What to Know:

  • Routine IV use restricts movement, decreases confidence, may over-hydrate mothers and may contribute to low blood sugar in newborns.
  • Restricting eating and drinking in labor depletes a woman’s energy when she needs it most.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends offering women fluids by mouth and eliminating routine IV use during labor.
  • The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recommends that low-risk laboring women be allowed to drink clear liquids (such as water, juice, carbonated drinks, clear tea, and black coffee).

You’ll need an IV if:

  • You develop health problems or complications before or during labor.
  • You’re at high risk for complications.
  • Your labor is induced or speeded up with Pitocin.
  • You have an epidural.
  • You're receiving medication such as antibiotics in labor.

How to Avoid Unnecessary Use:

  • Choose your caregiver and birth site carefully.
  • Talk to your caregiver about your desire to eat, drink, and avoid unnecessary IV use.
  • Confidently eat and drink while you labor at home.
  • Labor at home as long as possible.

How to Keep Labor as Normal as Possible if You Will Need an IV:

  • Labor at home as long as possible
  • Eat and drink as your body commands while you’re at home.
  • Suck on ice chips, Popsicles, or lollipops during labor.
  • Walk around with your IV pole.
  • Stay as active as possible.
  • Remember that you don’t need the IV to have a safe birth and a healthy baby.
  • If you need the IV at only certain times (such as for medications), have the IV tube disconnected between doses.
  • Ask to have the IV placed in your forearm rather than your wrist or near your elbow so that you can still move around easily.


Read more about medical interventions:

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