What Are the Pros and Cons of IV Fluids During Labor?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
Please provide information on the pros and cons of IV fluids during labor and use of heplock.

Thanks.
Diann

ANSWER

Hi Diann,
There are times when these are absolutely necessary, such as when you want/need an epidural. If you are unable to hydrate yourself (say if you are throwing up all the time), you will need IV hydration for your labor. If you have had a prior cesarean or are at risk for post-partum hemorrhage, then a hep lock is very wise.

But otherwise, it is your choice, in my opinion. If your provider thinks one is necessary, find out the reason why -- there may be a good one.

-- Cynthia, CNM

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Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.