Friday, February 4, 2011

Change #17 Motivating Mothers to Be Hydrated Before/During Labor

Dear Birth Peeps,
Welcome new Peeps! Glad you have joined us.

Tonight we will move to a new Change, although we have not yet exhausted our consideration of changing our collective attitude toward prenatal ultrasound. When something becomes "routine," when it is referred to as "routine," it seems like we begin to equate it with "benign" and "proven safe." No urgency to question the status quo. And this is when it is imperative for us to stay awake and to continue to thoughtfully question whatever has become "routine."

Let's Drink to Change # 17
Today's change may not seem particularly exciting, and yet it could change birth for many women, reducing the length of time they are in labor, the "need" for augmentation, or cesarean. So it fits the criteria for our group commitment to change birth in our culture, "drop by drop," paying attention to small things we might otherwise take for granted.

In BFW I recommended mothers drink 4 ounces an hour in labor. That seemed do-able! Last week while doing a little review-research, I found a study, published in 2006 (so some of you may already be aware of this), of 300 first time mothers who received either four or eight ounces of intravenous fluids in labor. Mothers who were better-hydrated with eight ounces per hour actually had significantly shorter labors, and a tendency toward fewer cesareans.

Of course, I am not suggesting that every healthy woman should have an IV to achieve better hydration. But why not let moms know about this study, and let it motivate them to really pay attention to their hydration as their due date approaches; to stay well-hydrated before labor starts, and to drink more in early labor.

Finally, someone reading this blog might be looking for a research project. I'd like to see this study done with women who drank fluids in labor, showing which drinks and how much influence labor outcomes and lengths of labor.


Eslamain, L, Marsoosi, V., and Pakneeyat, Y. (2006, May). Increased intravenous fluid intake and the course of labor in nulliparous women. International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 93(2). 102-206.


  1. I'd like to know how to know if I'm hydrated in pregnancy. I feel like I'm thirsty all the time, and I drink water all the time, but I feel like thirst isn't a good indication-so what is?

  2. Your urine should be clear, not cloudy, and close to colorless, not yellow, though keep in mind that if you are taking certain vitamins they will turn your urine a bright neon yellow, however it should still be clear.