In our first prenatal appointment with all of our doula clients, we spend time talk about everyones birth preferences. And for those who are hoping for an unmedicated birth, having an IV is not high on their list of desires.
When A Hep Lock Is Necessary During Labor
We are lucky in that it is standard practice to not automatically use an IV during labor in our area! All area hospitals in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel, do not require the use of an IV during labor. Of course, particular providers can override that, but standard is that they are not necessary. What is necessary for local hospitals, is the hep lock, a small catheter inserted into your vein where if needed, an IV could be started quickly. At our local birth center, IVs and hep locks are not standard! You are free to labor without one as long as necessary.
Benefits of Having a Hep Lock During Labor
One Prick, and It Is Done: When you are first admitted to the hospital, your nurse will set the hep lock and then be done. That means that as your contractions are getting stronger, you do not need to worry about another needle!
Waterproof: Just because you have the hep lock, your water access is not restricted! Get in that tub or shower just as much as you want!
It Is There If Needed: We never expect the worst, but it sure is nice to know your medical team can start an IV in case it is needed quickly.
When IVs Are Necessary During Labor
If you choose to have an epidural or IV medication during labor, an IV is necessary. But, during these cases, you will be laying in the hospital bed, so your mobility will not be an issue. The other time an IV may be necessary, is if you test positive for GBS around 36 or 38 weeks.
GBS+ During Labor
If you test positive for Group Beta Streptococcus, or commonly called Group B Strep, you will be required to have an IV during labor, but not continuously! This applies to both those giving birth at a birth center or hospital. You will be given your antibiotics at set times based on medical teams desires, and then at regular intervals throughout your birth. While being tethered to your IV pole isn’t ideal, the antibiotics are usually given pretty quickly.