IV Fluids

Intravenous (IV) Fluids

What to Know about IVs

  • Routine IV use restricts movement, decreases confidence, may over-hydrate you and may contribute to low blood sugar in baby.
  • Restricting eating and drinking in labor depletes energy when you need it most.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends offering fluids by mouth and eliminating routine IV use during labor.
  • The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recommends that those with low-risk labors be allowed to drink clear liquids (such as water, non-pulp juice, carbonated drinks, clear tea and black coffee).

You’ll Need IV Fluids If:

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

How to Avoid Unnecessary of IV Fluids

  • 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 Safe and Healthy as Possible if You Will Need an IV

  • Labor at home as long as possible
  • Eat and drink in response to your body’s needs 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 IV fluids only at 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.

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