IV During Birth — The Bump
3rd Trimester

IV During Birth

I don't know where else to post this, so here it goes.  I'm not pregnant yet, but will hopefully be soon (going through fertility treatments) and have a moderate needle phobia. Now, I have a lidocaine cream that helps numb the skin for blood draws and such, but it only works for so long and has to be used about an hour before the prick. I was wondering if anyone has experience with hospital births and knows if the IV's are different or if they have some kind of pain medication to help with the pain of the IV itself. I know someone is going to say that the IV isn't that bad, but getting my blood drawn is incredibly painful and even with the lidocaine cream still hurts a lot, and for a long time after the blood draw which I have found out isn't normal. Once I'm pregnant my husband and I are going to tour a couple of hospitals and I'll ask them too, but kind of looking for some peace of mind before all of that begins.
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Re: IV During Birth

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  • You may be able to try to do your cream on the way to the hospital, and then ask to have your IV established right away. The IV you receive in labor (if you need one, I didn't have one with my second baby) isn't unlike any other IV/blood draw.

    It may be worth it to you to look into Hypnobabies, as they have a track called "Needles are OK!" that I've read can be extremely helpful. It could help during your fertility treatments, as well. I don't have experience with that track as I don't have that particular fear, but I had a great experience with an unmedicated birth using the hypnobabies home study course.
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  • I've never had an iv... Is it really that bad??

    OP I agree- at the point of labor the pain of a needle might not even be on your radar.

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  • I don't really have advice but I can tell you that if pain from needles and blood draws are that hard for you then the IV during labor may be the least of your worries. There is a ton of blood work involved in pregnancy, especially first and second trimester. I don't tell you this to be mean but to prepare/warn you.
    I will also add the true but somewhat cliche line: It's all totally worth it. Good luck TTC!

    Ditto all of this. At the beginning especially, I had my blood drawn all the time for one thing or another. You will need to prepare yourself for that. Best of luck.

  • The IV Heplock is a simple plastic catheter tube that holds the vein open with a port. The entrance to the vein is made with a needle, but it's incredibly brief. The catheter in my vein was just annoying, but not painful.

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  • As a nurse let me not-sugar coat it. The fact you're an adult, that's pretty ridiculous.
    A) You aren't going to always have time for numbing medication. If emergencies happen during pregnancy you most likely won't get an option. Also numbing medication, depending on what type of IV access they place, can mess up the initial insertion.
    B) It's seriously something you need to consider going to therapy for vs. assuming everyone can just work around it. You will be very disappointed with your health care experience while pregnant. I'm not even talking delivery at all, because I don't know where you live or anything.
    C) Pregnancy requires a lot of blood work depending on health and how things go.
    I think you need to work on some of your issues before you become pregnant because right now the expectations are unrealistic.
    That's the deal with phobias...they're ridiculous, but you can't help it. 

    OP - as others have said there are lots of needle sticks to endure while pregnant. At times, you'll feel like a pincushion. If you deliver in a hospital, you're more than likely going to have to have an IV. If you want an epidural it's a must. Maybe the process of your fertility treatments will help you overcome your fears if you have to give yourself shots.

    This I understand but I do hope OP can try and get help to get over it because pregnancy and childbirth are tough and painful (duh, right?). I mean, her phobia must be pretty hard core if she's worrying about this now and not even pregnant yet.

    OP I think your plan of touring hospitals and asking is a good idea.

  • This I understand but I do hope OP can try and get help to get over it because pregnancy and childbirth are tough and painful (duh, right?). I mean, her phobia must be pretty hard core if she's worrying about this now and not even pregnant yet.

    OP I think your plan of touring hospitals and asking is a good idea.

    I hope she does, too! I just know how debilitating a phobia can be and felt it was majorly insensitive to say that it's ridiculous as an adult to have a phobia. There've been times that I couldn't go outside because of my phobia. Hearing that it's ridiculous isn't anywhere in the neighborhood of helpful. I know it's ridiculous, now tell me how to fix it! 

    That was pretty harsh.
  • Only ignorant people are not taking phobias seriously.
    Obviously it would be very helpful to try and get help for this issue now - psychiatrist consultation at the very least. There are ways to relieve needle anxiety in any situation, which does not include shaming. You may ask your doctor about them
  • Ehhh I question whether this is a true needle phobia or something more along the lines of "fuck, I really REALLY hate needles." Cause if it was a genuine phobia it would get in the way of fertility treatments, no? That said, having just gone through the experience, I haaaaate IVs and honestly found that being in labor was an excellent distraction from the fact that there was one in me. OP this might sound cliche, but cross that bridge when you get to it - don't borrow trouble and all that. You'll be fine.
    The the REALLY hating needles causes her undue anxiety. It might not be a true phobia, but it's still an issue that she needs help with.

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  • msuzannahmsuzannah member
    edited January 2016
    I would recommend getting help before you become pregnant op. From what I've heard with fertility treatments they are going to check you hcg levels to make sure they are going up at first. I could be totally wrong on that fact as I have never been through fertility treatments.

    No pregnancy is the same so I'm not saying my experience will be yours but it is something to be prepared for. For the first 2 weeks I had 2-3 blood draws to make sure my hcg levels were rising (due to previous losses). After that I was fine for about a week and then started getting really sick. We assumed it was just morning sickness but pretty soon it was obvious that it wasn't and I was diagnosed with HG. I have since had 3-5 iv's a week not to mention the 3 times I was hospitalized and had a constant iv going for over a week. It sucks and it's not fun but it is nesecary for me so I can keep myself and my baby as healthy as I can. Phobias are very hard to deal with but I feel that it is something you should work through now with a therapist or psychologist so you are prepared with ways to cope when the time comes. Good luck!

    ETA: HG is not common during pregnancy (I believe less that 1%(?)) but getting an iv during the first trimester due to vomiting is more common but can be prevented sometimes.
  • Haven't gone into labor yet, but wanted to chime in on the phobia vs hating part of this conversation. I've had a terrible phobia of needles my entire life, which my mother always downplayed to health care practitioners when I would start having panic attacks over getting blood drawn, or getting shots. For me it wasn't the needle itself, but the feeling of something taking blood away from my body, or feeling it going into my blood. I understand where OP is coming from with saying it hurts, and for me it hurts for days.

    I wish I could say that you'll get used to it, because I still haven't, but the best thing I've done is make someone go with me to hold my hand, request I am restrained (I've subconsciously attacked someone holding a needle by me in the past who didn't know) ask for a pediatric or butterfly needle, and treat yourself when you're finished with whatever tests you're getting done.

    I haven't had the conversation with my OB about needles yet, because all the blood work is done off site at a lab, but I'm looking into opting to not use an IV at the hospital. I'm not entirely opposed to a Hep/lock (or however it's spelled) in my hand, but I know myself well enough to know that no matter how much pain I'll be in with a natural birth, I won't be able to zone out on the crook of my arm putting something into my body.

    Also you are completely able to refuse an IV at the hospital. Just be aware you're going to get ridiculous amounts of shit for it, and the alternative can be pretty horrifying as well. (Like me getting a giant shot in my ass when I had a UTI that was causing bleeding early on in my first trimester) But that was worth it to me at the time. I'm not so ok with what I've read can happen if you aren't already hooked up to one during birth.

    (Definitely going to be checking out that needles are ok hypnobabies track btw)
  • I would consider speaking to a therapist about this issue in advance. You have plenty of time before the IV (though the other needles in pregnancy will come sooner). You aren't the only person I know with this phobia, and I realize that it's not the same thing at all (I hate needles, but I don't have a phobia)...but my biggest fear of delivery was the IV, not the labor. When it came to it I was begging them to give me an epidural. Begging.

    I can't say it would be the same for you, and I still think some therapy would be your best bet. I wish you luck.
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  • I have a friend with a needle phobia she brought some one with her for blood work and decided on a natural birth due to her phobia. She had a bit of a realist view - the pain of child birth might have her changing her tune about wanting an epidural! She had a short labour so she was successful in her natural birth but did mention had it dragged on she would have likely changed her mind. It's all circumstance.

    I agree with other PPs about seeing a therapist about your phobias. It could help, especially coupled with pre-natal blood draws you might not get to the panic-attack/passing out phase my friend deals with.
  • I am a RN at a huge hospital and have seen people (adults) scared of needles we have had to sit on them to get IVs in or draw blood. Afterwords they all say that wasn't that bad. Try getting a stress ball to squeeze in the opposite hand, also request a nurse if they ever send a cna/tech or medical assistant to do any blood work or anything involving a needle. A nurse is more trained and way more likely to get a vein on the first try. I'll never let a med assistant or cna come near me with a needle they are all way under trained. After a few blood draws im sure you'll hopefully be fine and realise how ridiculous the fear is. Just think about the precious baby that will come from this. Just make sure you have your mind prepared for everything comes with being pregnant and involving needles or pain. When it comes to survival and your baby and you.... You can't let the pain of a needle be in the way. Remember the needles are ever so tiny and it goes fast when it comes to inserting the IV. It looks worst then it really is.
  • yogahh said:
    I've never had an iv... Is it really that bad?? OP I agree- at the point of labor the pain of a needle might not even be on your radar.
    No. I think OP has a phobia. I hate needles with a passion and TBH don't even remember any IV's I've ever gotten or remember them hurting.

    OP something else to keep in mind (that may have been brought up...I didn't read all responses) is the possibility of spinal/epidural's during labor. I do remember my spinal being unpleasant although it wasn't as bad as I had read or thought. It was over very quickly but it wasn't something I'd like repeated (although that has now gone out the window).
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  • While I agree with @JMarie1291 about choosing a nurse to do your blood work over an MA or CNA if you have the option at your hospital I would take the phlebotomist over anyone else to do blood draws. In most places they don't put in iv's but they do the blood draws and they have months of training + experience in the hospital! My husband is a phlebotomist in the hospital and he deals with people who have a phobia of needles and they have had specific training on helping those people cope with it.
  • my hospital has a few nurses all the units turn to when someone is a hard stick or has a phobia. Whether it is a house coordinater, a charge nurse or a well seasoned floor nurse. I've seen the older nurses get a vein the first try with the lights off as to not disturb the patient. Speak up and ask your nurse how often their sticks are successful and tell them you want someone who can get it on the first try and let them know you won't tolerate someone digging. They will have someone they can call. I know it doesn't soothe your fear of needles but I'm sure it would help knowing you won't be stuck a million times.
  • I'm with you OP, IVs are painful. Ive been to the ER with both of my pregnancies now (1st with extreme morning sickness, the 2nd with food poisoning) both times I was extremely dehydrated and had to have special nurses come in to find a vein.
    I can tell you, they never asked me if I wanted special numbing cream ect... But at that point, all I wanted/needed were fluids so I just turned my head and thought about something else besides the pain.
    The amount of blood work you have to have done when pregnant sucks as well.
    The IV I got when I was in labor was a breeze, possibly due to the fact my contractions were a million times worse. We will see how this birth goes.
  • Hey OP, I'm with you too. I'm also quite needle phobic and prior to being pregnant avoided needles for 12 years or so (had emergency appendectomy was the last thing.. took like 45 min for them to convince me to let them put in the IV and my appendix was leaking). It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about needles, so this board makes me feel ill reading it, but I just failed my 1 hour GD test, so I might be looking at needle hell coming up here, so I wanted to see if there was any good advice.  I can't watch needles on tv or even look at a syringe without feeling anxiety either. 
    I've found the butterfly definitely helps with the blood draw and if the nurse is nice. The nurse I had the 1st few times was so nice and kept asking me things to keep me distracted, whereas the last nurse was seemingly irritated at me. Maybe see if you can get a friend or family member to go with you to ask you things to distract you. I also cover my whole head with a sweater, so I can't see the needle from the get-go or see it go in. When I had my IV when I got my appendix out, I refused to move that whole arm and had them wrap it up in towels so I couldn't see it. I was in the hospital 3 days and had problems moving it when I was finally released. I swear all the fluids they put in the IV burned too and the nurses told me it shouldn't. I know my fear is completely ridiculous, but I do feel like I've made some improvements with needles so far this pregnancy (I've had 3 blood draws & 1 shot, plus 3 dental shots). I know during delivery there will be a lot of needles, but I planned on my pain from the contractions being so intense that hopefully I would be distracted and out of it enough that the needles/IV won't be as noticeable. I am nervous about the IV being in my hand though, I'd rather have it in the crook of my arm so I can wrap it in a towel again and not have it have as much movement as it would with my hand, plus my veins are good by my mid arm.
    I might try out the hypnobabies needle course that someone else mentioned on here, I actually had previously thought about trying a hypnosis thing with needles. 
    OP, you're braver than me, if I would have had problems conceiving I wouldn't have wanted to deal with any of those needles..

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  • Op beacuse you are doing fertility treatments and are sticking yourself often, use this experiance and try mediating and finding things that help you with the experiance. Usually with phobias, people do systematic desensitization, where you use stress and anxiety xiong mechanisms while building up to greater exposure to your phobia. Because you seem to do well when you stick yourself, maybe try using less numbing cream (if the pain is the real problem) and work through that with breathing techniques or something else that is relaxing. Hopefully by the end of your fertility treatments, you can have more control over your anxiety associated with the pain. 
  • smushismushi member
    edited February 2016
    I almost broke my hand trying to get away from a wasp last year.

    Is this a ridiculous reaction for an adult to have?  Definitely.

    Do my limbic or adrenaline systems give a flying eff?  No.

    I used to have similar reactions to needles (without the extreme fight or flight).  I would go sweaty, sweaty palms, dry mouth, shaking, near passing out.  Pregnancy the first time around, I was stuck so many times for blood draws, IVs, etc, that it really helped desensitize me to it.  Do I always ask for the most experienced person?  Yes.  Always.  I also let them know I'm a fainter, so I lie down before blood draws.  It also really helps to have something to look at (your phone is great).  Thank goodness I have two very easily accessible spots (one in hand for IV and one in arm for blood draws).  If I didn't, and it took several attempts each time, I believe they'd have to knock me out first.

    ETA On the upside, during actual labor, the pain from the contractions takes away a lot of the focus you might have for the needle/IV going in.  So there's that. 

  • Yeah, I suggest you get some therapy or something to help you out prior to becoming pregnant. As pp have said, there is a lot of blood work involved in pregnancy. And as a nurse, I can tell you that where you put the numbing cream may not be the most appropriate spot for your IV access anyway. Meaning that you can prepare a vein an hour ahead of time and it all be for nothing if the vein isn't correct. I know that I'll probably get butchered as insensitive for saying it, but if you're considering birthing a child, a needle stick should really be at the bottom of your lists of major concerns. 
  • Once the IV is placed it doesn't hurt, it's only the initial needlestick that hurts unless you have a vascular complication relating to the IV such as swelling, fluid leaking out of vessels into tissue, medication administration that is painful. These complications are rare. Someone should be looking at your IV AT LEAST every 8 hours and before using it each time to prevent said complications. 

    As an ICU nurse - I think you should plan to get one when things are calm and not when it's emergent. It's much harder to find a good spot when it's "crunch time." Additionally, you can always ask for IV therapy (designated IV insertion RNs) to place yours as those are the equivalent of phlebotomy in blood draws for IVs. However I can tell you, any RN who works L&D has plenty of experience to place one well.

    I realize you are scared, and I know not many people can say much to absolve that fear, but I'm hoping you can conquer this the closer you get to needing one ! Best wishes ! 
  • yogahh said:
    I've never had an iv... Is it really that bad?? OP I agree- at the point of labor the pain of a needle might not even be on your radar.
    In my experience - the ones in your arm are fine. I hate the ones in your hand. You get one in your hand during labor, I believe. Not looking forward. Although, truthfully, the last time I had one in my hand, I was 8 years old...so, you know, my memory may be acting up LOL
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