IV fluids are commonly administered to laboring women as standard practice in maternity wards. IV fluids may be common practice, but they may or may not be needed by the laboring woman. It is important for a woman to educate and inform herself about the benefits and risks of routine IV fluids while to enable herself to make an informed decision for both herself and her baby.
What are IV fluids?
IV fluids are administered to help treat or prevent dehydration. The fluid consists of a saline solution that is administered intravenously through a catheter.
How are IV fluids administered?
A nurse usually administers IV fluids after receiving orders from the physician to do so. The nurse will begin by cleaning the area where the IV catheter is to be inserted with either an antiseptic or alcohol solution. The area will be allowed to dry. Using gloved hands, the nurse will then attempt to find a vein and insert the specially designed needle containing a thin plastic catheter (tube). Once the nurse confirms she has a good vein (often by drawing blood from it) the nurse will then remove the needle, leaving the catheter in place. The catheter is then taped securely to the woman’s skin, ensuring that it will not come loose. The saline solution is then attached to the catheter through a series of tubes, and its administration is controlled by a pump.
What are some reasons IV fluids may be needed?
IV fluids may be necessary if the mother is unable to keep fluids down, such as water, clear juices or even ice chips. An IV may also be needed if the mother requires medications, such as intravenous antibiotics or the labor inducing medications such as pitocin, that must be administered with fluids.
What are the advantages of IV fluids?
IV fluids may help a dehydrated woman maintain the proper electrolytes, as well as ensure that the baby has plenty of fluids surrounding it. This is especially important if the woman is unable to control vomiting.
The woman’s caregivers have quick access to a vein already in place through the IV line if the woman needs intravenous medications.
What are the disadvantages of IV fluids?
The IV placement site may become sore, or swollen, causing pain for the mother. The IV itself may be uncomfortable.
The IV line may restrict movement in the mother, only allowing her to move a limited distance away from the pole holding the IV solution bag.
An incorrect dosage of fluids, or a woman who is eating and drinking by mouth in addition to IV fluids may become overhydrated, placing the mother and baby both at risk for fluid in the lungs.
If the IV fluids contain glucose, it may place the baby at risk for hypoglycemia immediately after birth.
Vanderlaan, Jennifer. “IV Use in Labor.” Birthing Naturally. Web. 24 Sept. 2010.
“Appropriate Use of Interventions: Intravenous Fluids.” Lamaze International: Promoting Natural, Safe and Healthy Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond. Web. 24 Sept. 2010.
“IV Fluids in Labor: More Harm Than Good? | BIRTH SENSE.” The Midwife Next Door. Web. 24 Sept. 2010.
Johnson, Robert V. Mayo Clinic Complete Book of Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year. New York: W. Morrow and, 1994. Print.Book
Kitzinger, Sheila. The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth. New York: Knopf, 1989. Print.