Natural Birth

IV with Drug Free?

HI Ladies...do you know if the hospital will still hook you up to an IV if you plan to have a natural drug free labor?

Re: IV with Drug Free?

  • If you discuss it with your OB/MW you can usually avoid the IV and be permitted fluids by mouth. 

    Some hospitals do require that you get a saline or hep lock.  This basically provides them a port into the vein so that they have access in the case of an emergency. 

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  • Depends on the hospital.  Most will recommend a saline-lock, which is basically an open line in case there is an emergency, but there is nothing going in it. My hospital doesn't do them routinely, so I didn't have one either time.  I wouldn't have a problem with a saline-lock if my hospital wanted me to have one, but I would decline a running IV unless I needed one.
  • Typically they will but some hospitals allow you to decline the IV so long as you drink enough water during labor. I declined both times and didn't have any problems, the second time I needed a shot of pitocin my my shoulder about an hour after the birth because I was passing grapefruit size clots that weren't slowing down. If I had an IV they would have put the pitocin through that. 
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  • Each hospital, MW, and OB has different procedures.  You'll have to talk to your care provider about their standard procedures.

    At my hospital, with the OBs you're generally hooked up, but you can opt for just a hep lock.  With the CNMs, unless you are GBS+ you don't have to even have a hep lock. 

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  • I would think it rare these days for an IV to be required. A port, perhaps (my hospital does) but not an IV. I ended up needing some meds after DD's birth, so it was nice to already have the port in. Otherwise I would hardly even have noticed.
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  • I asked this first to one of the OBs affiliated with my midwife and he told me that the hospital required me to be hooked up during labor and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it... Well, I was pretty distraught about this(I am TERRIFIED of IV needles..) and basically I was in a panic until my next appt. with my midwife. As soon as I asked her she laughed and said that was ridiculous. She said, and I quote, "If you tell them no and they do it anyways, that's assault."
    I would fight them. If you are already hooked up to fluids the nurses can and will sneak meds into your drip. It has happened to me.
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  • It's not the hospital's decision. It's yours under the heading of "informed consent/informed refusal". I've had 5 babies in a total of 4 different hospitals and I have NEVER had an IV in my life. They may ask you to sign a waiver, and that's fine.
  • I had a hep lock both times. It didn't bother me, but definitely talk about your options with your provider.
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    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • Mine didn't require anything.  They asked me in triage before I was checked and found to be fully dilated whether I wanted pain meds and I said I wasn't sure so they didn't say anything about an IV.  They briefly discussed putting in an IV to give me abx (I was GBS+), but decided against it because I was already pushing.  I still wonder how they think they could have put an IV in me at that point... I would not have been particularly cooperative. 

    Anyway, I agree with everyone else - it just depends on the policy. 

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  • I have heard that OBs and hospitals often like to 'pass the buck' when it comes to labeling whose policy routine IV is.  OBs will say it's hospital policy, while hospitals may not have such a written policy, but encourage OBs to do so.

    I was originally seeing an OB who said I would be required a hep lock.  I switched to a midwifery practice that only requires this in the case of GBS+, and a hospital that is supportive of this.

    The day I found out I was GBS- was a happy one :)

    EDIT-I just want to second what PPs have said about hydration.  It's so important...so make sure to look into your hospital's/provider's policies about that too.  If you are not allowed to drink during labor you may need IV fluids at some point.


  • image happywith5:
    It's not the hospital's decision. It's yours under the heading of "informed consent/informed refusal". I've had 5 babies in a total of 4 different hospitals and I have NEVER had an IV in my life. They may ask you to sign a waiver, and that's fine.

    Thank you for saying this, we just have to keep saying it!  It sends chills up my spine every time I hear a woman say, "My doctor/mw won't let me XYZ" or "My doctor/mw requires XYZ" Unless they want to try to get a court order the final decision rests with you, always! 

  • Thanks everyone! This is very helpful!!
  • image BNHarris8:
    I asked this first to one of the OBs affiliated with my midwife and he told me that the hospital required me to be hooked up during labor and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it... Well, I was pretty distraught about this(I am TERRIFIED of IV needles..) and basically I was in a panic until my next appt. with my midwife. As soon as I asked her she laughed and said that was ridiculous. She said, and I quote, "If you tell them no and they do it anyways, that's assault."
    I would fight them. If you are already hooked up to fluids the nurses can and will sneak meds into your drip. It has happened to me.

    Uh, what?  

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  • image BNHarris8:
    I asked this first to one of the OBs affiliated with my midwife and he told me that the hospital required me to be hooked up during labor and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about it... Well, I was pretty distraught about this(I am TERRIFIED of IV needles..) and basically I was in a panic until my next appt. with my midwife. As soon as I asked her she laughed and said that was ridiculous. She said, and I quote, "If you tell them no and they do it anyways, that's assault."
    I would fight them. If you are already hooked up to fluids the nurses can and will sneak meds into your drip. It has happened to me.

    Uh, what?  

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    DS1: BFP: 4/4/2011 | EDD: 12/2/2011 | Born 11/21/2011
    DS2: BFP: 2/23/13 | EDD: 10/26/13 | We said goodbye: 6/2/13 (19w1d) due to pPROM

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  • I think it depends on your hospital. They were willing to keep me free from all hook ups until they found out I was GBS+. Then I had to have the IV. It really wasn't that bad though. The only thing they put in my IV was the antibiotic. I still got to do whatever I wanted for labor. I walked, sat in the tub and stood in the shower. I actually was using the IV pole to hang on to to get through contractions. I don't think it hindered anything during labor.
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