How More IV Fluids Could Help You During Childbirth

According to a recent study, getting more IV fluid while you're in labor might help your delivery in some really unexpected ways.

IV Fluids Speed Labor nattanan726/Shutterstock
If you're terrified of being in labor for a long time and you're hoping to give birth vaginally, you'll want to read this: According to a new study, having more IV fluids during labor can help you give birth faster and increase your odds of having a vaginal delivery.

Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University analyzed previously conducted studies on how hydration levels can affect childbirth. These findings suggest that even low levels of dehydration can affect how your body reacts to the whole process: Since labor requires constant uterine contractions to move a baby through the birth canal, hydration can speed the process along and bring down the C-section risk for women who hope to deliver vaginally.

The researchers compiled data from seven smaller clinical trials for a total observation of 1,215 women: The women observed were given either 250 milliliters or 125 millimeters per hour (the latter  is common practice), and the study concluded that women who were given more fluid could reduce labor time by about an hour. 

"We've known that it's important for women to stay well hydrated during pregnancy and labor. This study suggests that IV fluids could help women maintain hydration at appropriate levels, reduce the likelihood of C-section, and decrease length of labor," says study author says Vincenzo Berghella, M.D, according to a release for the study. "The results are compelling and strongly argue for a change in practice."

While this news hasn't affected common practice on a national level yet, If you're hoping to have a (relatively) quick vaginal delivery, you may want to discuss these findings with your doctor.