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Is an IV required during labor?
Q: One of my friends told me I will need an IV during labor. I’m planning on a natural birth, so I don’t understand why I need one.
A: An intravenous line is not necessary for labor, but it does serve some valuable purposes. The first reason to use one is to nourish the mum during labor. The process of birth can take many hours and be physically draining. Drinking fluid may be inadvisable or insufficient to keep the mum from becoming dehydrated. The IV keeps her system full of fluid and helps nourish the baby during labor.

The IV also is a convenient way to introduce pain medication during labor. For those who chose to receive pain medication, it’s often administered intravenously. An IV is necessary in advance of an epidural, too.

Certain medical or obstetrical conditions make an IV essential during labor. Women who have had many children, have a history of problem bleeding after delivery, have heart murmurs or are group B strep carriers definitely need an IV during labor. Those who have a Caesarean section also are candidates.

Since you desire to have a natural delivery, an IV may not be necessary. If your labor is fast, your baby tolerates the contractions and you don’t become dehydrated, you can fulfill your aspirations.