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IV During Birth

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Re: IV During Birth

  • And, OP, I totally feel you -- I have a horrendous phobia of finger prick tests... the sound the lancet makes and the suddenness trigger my PTSD. It's not a rational fear, and it's frustrating to hear people tell you how it's not a big deal. Umm...doesn't matter...my body just responds! I literally cannot stop it! I've refused all finger-prick tests for forever and have bargained with nurses to get them to do full blood tests instead because those don't scare me. I'm little help, obviously. Being distracted might help? Like if they can do it during a contraction... For me, them counting down to sudden things helps. I hate not knowing when things will happen.
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  • I have issues with needles mostly because my veins are "difficult" and I've had a lot of bad experiences with nurses or lab techs really butchering my hands and arms. I was dead set against an iv during labour but it wasn't standard practice for my midwife to do it anyway. Unfortunately I was unlucky enough to have a lot of severe vomiting during labour and after 10 hours of vomiting and not being able to keep down any fluids by mouth, my midwife sent me to the hospital to get fluids (since she rarely started IVs she was not up to the task of dealing with my difficult veins, especially as I was dehydrated). When I got the hospital iv the nurse was awesome and it was fairly painless, and honestly it was the least of my concerns at that point. I felt 1000x better after getting it! They also drew blood at the hospital as soon as I got there.
  • OP, you remind me of a sweet friend who wanted a baby badly for YEARS but it took that long for her to face her reality and pursue fertility treatments.  She avoided doctors and refused to acknowledge health issues of any sort, but eventually decided it was time to make her dream of having a baby happen, even if that meant facing her fears.  She went through fertility treatments, gestational diabetes, and an eventual c-section, even with a huge fear of doctors and needles.  As soon as she was cleared to do so, she started the process all over again.  She still hates seeing doctors and needles, but she found the courage to make it happen.  I sincerely hope that you are able to do so, too.  

    I was was once hospitalized for an undiagnosed medical condition and the ER docs were amazed that I wasn't asking for pain meds.  When they told me I'd need an IV I started to cry, which they thought was me finally acknowledging the intense pain.  My husband knew what was up and translated my tears for me:  "she's terrified of the IV!"  My condition has led to plenty of hospitalization a, surgeries, and IV drug therapy.  I DID get more comfortable with the idea of an IV after regular treatments but I developed the reputation as "the only patient at the treatment center who's thrown up at the sight of her own blood."  Turns out I'm worse with blood than needles, haha!  It's made for a good icebreaker story any time I have to get an IV or blood draw.  (Bribing myself with a piece of chocolate helps, too.
  • Kind of an old thread but I'll throw in my 2 cents. 

    I used to have a needle phobia. I mean, I hated needles before, had to get allergy shots regularly as a kid and I had a few bad reactions resulting in needing epinephrine, but then I had an experience with the dentist that really sent me over the edge. If I had to get a shot, I'd cry and shake and I have fainted multiple times, and I would go to pretty ridiculous measures to avoid vaccinations and the like. I'm pretty much over it now- better experiences, working with animals, and being a nursing student have helped- but I still get a little woozy after a flu shot sometimes.

    I've had an IV twice and I can honestly say it's not so bad. It will likely just be fluids, which you can't feel going in like other things, and that's what bothers me more than the poke. Getting novocaine at the dentist is way worse. Getting a tetanus shot is way worse. Last time I recently had an IV for surgery, my nurse was great. She used a hot cloth first and then she injected my hand with lidocaine (not sure if that's something that's okay for pregnancy) and that stung but then the IV didn't hurt at all. If you let them know you're afraid, they will probably also try to get you a smaller needle than they otherwise would- that's what they did when I was hospitalized for dehydration when I was 16. People working in L&D are generally very good at starting IVs since they do it all the time. 

    Plus, the good thing about an IV is that they can then use that to give you most of any other meds that you need without having to poke you again. I also think as you gradually get used to giving yourself injections for IF, the IV will be less scary. I also honestly think IV injections hurt less than IM ones (I think IF drugs are subQ? Correct me if I'm wrong?). Good luck, I know the anxiety sucks, and it's embarrassing too. 
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  • If it is done right, an IV can not hurt at all. Some nurses are fantastic at it, others not. The best place I ever got it was in my fore arm and I hope to ask for that. I believe it is hospital policy to have an IV no matter what, or at least it is at the ones I've been to.
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  • Not sure if OP is still checking, but you can certainly ask for a forearm IV in the form
    of a hep lock, to be used just in case. Honestly, I have NO idea why they do hand IVs in L&D when you're using your hands for so much during labor. It's never made sense to me :)
    kyraaDalmostpricelessWaitingMay14
  • whoa whoa whoa... you can ask for an arm one rather than hand?! 
    You made my night
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  • whoa whoa whoa... you can ask for an arm one rather than hand?! 
    You made my night
    Glad I could help ;)
  • I just completely flipped out half an hour ago when I saw a spider while cleaning house. Screamed loudly, almost fell over while trying to run away from it, started shaking a bit because I kept seeing it in my head and feeling phantom spider legs all over me, and freaked out my unborn child in the process (she's still moving around at this point, though in a less panicky fashion). I'm a lot calmer now, but I've been feeling nauseous as the initial reaction wore off.  All of this over a small and most likely harmless arachnid. And I'm a grown woman who used to teach outdoor education and could walk by a wasp nest/see a snake nearby and not even blink. (Well, unless it was a cottonmouth. But those fuckers are vicious.)

    So, yeah, to add onto what other PPs have said: phobias may seem ridiculous, but they are very real and there is no controlling them sometimes. 

    I also have a fear of needles. Mainly because I've always had super thin veins, and no matter how much water I drink, it's not always easy to find them. 

    Something I've figured out since I got pregnant and had to be stuck regularly for lab work: have a phlebotomist draw your blood if possible. The nurses at my OB's office have never managed to hit a vein on the first or even second try. So now I just request to go to the lab downstairs, because the main thing phlebotomists do all day is draw blood, and they are pros at it. They always get it on the first try. Even at other lab locations I've never been to before. My aversion to needles has gone down significantly since then.

    From now on, I don't care what the situation is - barring an emergency, if a doctor needs blood work, I'm going to go to an actual lab for it. 

    As for labor...well, I'm a FTM, so I can't speak for how things may/may not feel at that time. But I would think that the IV will be the least of your worries. Hopefully by then the repeated exposure will have made a difference. And if you decide to get an epidural, just make sure that the staff knows to not let you see the needle and that you have someone to help you focus on something else. 
    Pregnancy Ticker

  • As a psychologist AND someone with a blood phobia, I can definitely relate to this. In fact, I told everyone before I was pregnant that my biggest fear was all the blood draws. It was incredibly difficult, but using applied tension to reduce my risk of fainting got me through all the labs. I still dread getting the IV for labor, though. Just the thought of having an open vein really bothers me. But, after several experiences of not fainting, I've noticed my efficacy really build up. It's not surprising at all that you developed a phobia of needles with such emotionally scary experiences in the past and the acute pain. If you don't faint, you won't need to use applied tension, but doing diaphragmatic breathing and/or visual imagery and/or distraction strategies while they are giving you shots or inserting IVs can be a big help. Every time  you have an experience with needles that does not result in something bad happening, focus on your continued increase in coping, rather than the pain you feel afterwards. If you focus solely on the pain and ignore the great strides you're taking towards approaching the feared situation then you aren't giving yourself the due credit for doing something that is very hard for the sake of your future baby. Good luck!
    blissylissy86
  • 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
    I agree the ones in the arm hurt way less. I had an IV yesterday due to dehydration and they had a hard time finding a good vein. The slapping doesn't help either. They don't always do the ones in the arm depending on the procedure (personal experience) but always good to ask. If you get it on your hand I recommend getting it on the hand you dont use to wipe yourself- super annoying and hard to use my other hand.
  • Also people keep in mind that even if you birth in a hospital you can refuse the IV.  They may try and tell you it's policy but you respond with "I do not consent to and IV or heplock" watch them jump back.  Just please be informed that if you really need one it will help. It's just that most low risk moms don't need an IV at all. 
    MamaNicoleof3
  • http://hypnobirthingct.com/crimes-and-misdemeanors-a-forced-iv-and-forced-apology/

    Interesting blog post from my hypnobirthing instructor about the subject.  
  • Also people keep in mind that even if you birth in a hospital you can refuse the IV.  They may try and tell you it's policy but you respond with "I do not consent to and IV or heplock" watch them jump back.  Just please be informed that if you really need one it will help. It's just that most low risk moms don't need an IV at all. 
    I caution against refusing it. I did and eventually I needed fluids from vomiting so much during labor. Its WAY worse to get an IV for saline or a banana bag while you are in transition. It was hard for the nurse and standing still was very difficult. You may refuse any treatment, but in this case I am not sure its a good idea. You never know if you need the fluids or Heaven Forbid, an emergency C section. For me its an acceptable risk and is really not a huge ordeal. It didn't upset my focus or mantra.
    This,  10000%. In a trauma or true emergency,  starting an IV on a patient that is struggling is very difficult.  It does not matter why they are struggling or what the emergency is either. I have worked with hospice patients, L/D patients, Trauma, Burn, and OR patients. I have been told for years that I am a great stick and will have coworkers get me to try.  

    I was in a Trauma/Code a few weeks ago, and it took several of us to get 1 IV. I had to literally thread the IV as anesthesia held everything in place. 

    Getting an IV started in a 'calm' situation is so much better for all involved then in choas. I have seen so many chaotic times too.
    FiancBtara4910
  • Also people keep in mind that even if you birth in a hospital you can refuse the IV.  They may try and tell you it's policy but you respond with "I do not consent to and IV or heplock" watch them jump back.  Just please be informed that if you really need one it will help. It's just that most low risk moms don't need an IV at all. 
    PLEASE do not refuse the IV, at least take the heplock. I was one of the lucky "low percentage" that got to experience a general anesthesia CS. Things went wrong after my water broke and they had to push meds via IV line, plus the anesthesia once in the OR. 
    It would have been all bad if I refused, given I had to be stuck 7 times (by experienced nurses) before they got a vein that didn't blow. I got the IV as soon as I got there and it was a relaxed situation.
    Had that been during the emergency and they did not have access it sickens me to think what would have happened. 
  • Better to have it and not need it than to need it and have to get poked then... sorry but as sympathetic as I am to phobias, that's not a good reason to refuse it. Starting IVs is very tricky, and gets much trickier if you're dehydrated or in a bad situation. 
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  • smn14smn14 member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    I have a massive needle phobia and was worried about all the needles involved with pregnancy and labour. I ended up needing an IV in labour but had just started on gas and air at that point...totally didn't notice or feel it go in! Midwife was impressed I didn't flinch but I was so relaxed from the entenox! 
  • Everyone is really making this to be scarier than it has to be. Realize that in home births or at birthing centers they don't use any IVs at all.  They have it on stand by just in case but the need is very rare.  Yes there are exceptions, but if you have a phobia you may be more focused on the needle in your arm than focusing on your breathing, it could send people into panic mode.  I understand that there are risks and people fear something will go wrong, so to avoid the risk they do things like IVs, pain meds, monitoring, ect.  But what if your fear is the opposite? I personally get horrible anxiety when it comes to any medical procedure so to avoid all those machines, needles and doctors, I went to a birth center.  Just as safe and in fact has a hospital transfer rate of less then 15% (most hospital c sec rates are 30%+) and the majority of those transfers are because the moms request an epi and the birth center doesn't do those.  I believe the c sec rate is less than 5%.  So honestly do what you feel will make you most comfortable.  Weigh your pros and cons, talk to your doctor or midwife and remember this is your birth!
  • smn14 said:
    I have a massive needle phobia and was worried about all the needles involved with pregnancy and labour. I ended up needing an IV in labour but had just started on gas and air at that point...totally didn't notice or feel it go in! Midwife was impressed I didn't flinch but I was so relaxed from the entenox! 
    I'm not a fan of needles myself, but I can imagine that's the least of worries when you're in labor!  Lol.
    image
  • smn14smn14 member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    It totally goes out of your mind! I had many objections during labour and didn't notice any of them! Good distraction! 
  • Everyone is really making this to be scarier than it has to be. Realize that in home births or at birthing centers they don't use any IVs at all.  They have it on stand by just in case but the need is very rare.  Yes there are exceptions, but if you have a phobia you may be more focused on the needle in your arm than focusing on your breathing, it could send people into panic mode.  I understand that there are risks and people fear something will go wrong, so to avoid the risk they do things like IVs, pain meds, monitoring, ect.  But what if your fear is the opposite? I personally get horrible anxiety when it comes to any medical procedure so to avoid all those machines, needles and doctors, I went to a birth center.  Just as safe and in fact has a hospital transfer rate of less then 15% (most hospital c sec rates are 30%+) and the majority of those transfers are because the moms request an epi and the birth center doesn't do those.  I believe the c sec rate is less than 5%.  So honestly do what you feel will make you most comfortable.  Weigh your pros and cons, talk to your doctor or midwife and remember this is your birth!
    Personally IME I have panicked before and during insertion and have fainted shortly after. Once it's all over with though, I feel MUCH better. The presence of an IV in my hand/arm would not make me panic, but in the past knowing I was getting one would. Not everyone is the same but I'm guessing most are similar- once the hard part is over they're probably fine. 
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  • edited April 2016
    I can't answer your question about the pain aspect (I actually have a very high pain tolerance), but I can tell you the experience of getting and having an IV was one of the worst parts of labor for me. I have a serious phobia of internal medicine and the thought and feeling of a needle in a vein makes me nauseous and dizzy. I'm pretty sure the nurses were hiding their laughter when shortly after stating I did not want an epidural they watched me cringing while getting the IV. They made me keep it in (not hooked up to anything) for almost 24 hours (if I'm remembering correctly) too in case I had any need for fluids after labor. Creeped me out so bad.

    Edited to add a missed word. Also, sorry didn't realize how old this thread was to be resurrecting it! Just started checking out the third tri board as I'm not quite there yet.
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  • Thank you everyone for your advice, input, and support! I am starting to get better regarding the needle itself because of having to give myself shots throughout the month. The main problem I have for the IV (even if an amazingly wonderful nurse does it) is, for me, it still hurts after the needle is in. When I get pricked for a blood draw, unless I use my numbing cream, the draw hurts the entire time the needle is in my arm and for a few hours after the needle has been removed. From what we can determine I have over-active nerves in my skin which is the reason for the prolonged pain. I am hoping that (once I get to that point) labor will distract me from any IVs. It is great to know that I can request the IV be somewhere besides my hand, the more you know :) 
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  • @amanning2011 thanks for updating us! Maybe my experience can help . . I had my LO 8 weeks ago, and ended up with two IVs. I was admitted the day before due to having a reaction to the whooping cough vaccine i just had. They put in an IV in the back of my hand for fluids etc. it stung and hurt the whole time it was in, like what you were describing. The itchy pain didnt go away until the next day when they took it out for me to go home. I went into labour that evening so they had to put another one back in! I explained to my mw how horrible the other one had been so she put it in the side of my wrist instead. Seems like a wierd place but i had no itching, no pain, it was so much better! Maybe you could suggest this to your carer? I hope everything is going well on your journey
  • Definitely ask for a place that's not in your hand! Mine was the same as PP and it was so uncomfortable I begged them to take it out and restick me if I needed another IV (no go, btw). Plus, its HARD to take care of a baby when having it in your hand already bothers you. It won't be fun, but you'll have a sweet squishy baby to distract you and after its all over it'll be the least of your worries. 

    And this is coming from someone who had to be held down for their first blood draw! 
    mclorn
  • Thank you everyone for your advice, input, and support! I am starting to get better regarding the needle itself because of having to give myself shots throughout the month. The main problem I have for the IV (even if an amazingly wonderful nurse does it) is, for me, it still hurts after the needle is in. When I get pricked for a blood draw, unless I use my numbing cream, the draw hurts the entire time the needle is in my arm and for a few hours after the needle has been removed. From what we can determine I have over-active nerves in my skin which is the reason for the prolonged pain. I am hoping that (once I get to that point) labor will distract me from any IVs. It is great to know that I can request the IV be somewhere besides my hand, the more you know :) 
    One thing I didn't realize until more recently (maybe I'm dumb) is that while the insertion is done with a needle, the catheter/part that stays in is soft and flexible so it moves with you really well and is pretty comfortable. You'll probably be bruised, but I bet by the time it comes out again that it's not really going to hurt other than that. 

    This looks like a much bigger one than you would have but you get the idea.



    Hope that helps!
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    healing comes in waves, and maybe today the wave hits the rocks and that’s ok, that’s ok, darling. you are still healing, you are still healing- Ijeoma Umebinyuo, be gentle with yourself
    BFP #2  3/21   EDD 11/28/16
  • yodapupyodapup member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    Hands definitely hurt the most but L&D nurses like IVs in your hand or wrist. If they put one in your AC (crease of your arm area), there is a chance that fluids would be pinched off when you bare down/ pushing and the catheter could get bent. They also like larger bore IVs (18 gage usually) so that attributes to the uncomfortableness. 
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    FiancB
  • With DS, they screwed up putting the IV in my wrist and it hurt like hell, so I had them put it in the crease of my arm, which was fine. I plan on being upfront about that this time around.



    mclorn
  • (Lurking from March 2016) Forget the hand or arm crease, most comfortable spot I've had an IV put it was the top part of my forearm. I had it twice this way, once two weeks before my due date and then when my son was born via C section. Definitely ask your nurse about it. I find with the arm crease, you can't bend your arm without pain and that would really suck while holding your new baby. Top forearm hurt less, and wasn't in the way as much. However, I did bleed a lot more during the injection if that counts for anything. 
    mclorn
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