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.