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Here’s When You Can Refuse An IV During Labor

As you approach your due date, your mind can be easily overtaken by all of the logistics of labor and delivery. There’s no telling what will happen, and the "What if?" questions can snowball quickly in your head. Despite what sort of delivery you are hoping for or working towards, needles and IVs can be a point of contention across the board. Can you refuse an IV during labor? Only your doctor can say for sure, but there’s a few things to keep in mind.

If you plan on delivering in a hospital, it’s more than likely that you’ll have to deal with an IV during labor. According to Fit Pregnancy, while plenty of women deliver their babies without IVs or medications, the majority of American women opt for epidurals, which you can’t have without an IV. So, if you’re planning on an epidural, or keeping your options open for one, you can mentally add an IV to that plan.

Most doctors encourage IVs in the case of complications during labor and delivery. Fit Pregnancy noted that things like infection, high/low blood pressure, sudden bleeding, vomiting, and emergency C-sections can all be taken care of much quicker and easier with an IV already in place.

But, if you are hoping for a low-intervention birth, and you are having a healthy and low-risk pregnancy, your doctor may OK delaying the IV. In fact, as Fit Pregnancy noted, delaying the IV could help push you towards your low-intervention birth. Without having the IV in place, access to pain relief isn’t immediate, and in the time it takes to ask for an IV, you may end up trying a walk, position change, or warm bath to ease your discomfort.

According to Parents, if you’re planning on an au naturale delivery, you should talk to your doctor beforehand about the possibility of getting a hep-lock instead of an IV. A hep-lock keeps your vein open in case you suddenly need IV medications or fluids, but doesn’t otherwise restrict any movement.

Regardless of your birth plan, talking to your doctor beforehand will help you understand what your choices may be for labor and delivery, as well as any safe alternate options available for things you may not necessarily be comfortable with. In the end, you just want what’s best and safest for you and baby, and sometimes, those decisions are out of your hands completely.