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Why a heparin/saline lock

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 9
Ah well... why indeed?

"They" say in case of emergency. If everything goes to hell all of a sudden they already have a line in so they can knock you out faster and give you a crash section. I am of the opinion that it is simply one more way for them to exert control over your body and your mental state. A reminder to you that this is a MEDICAL situation and you are in a MEDICAL facility subject to MEDICAL procedures at a moments notice.

If their MEDICAL staff can't start an IV quickly in an emergency situation they have some very serious training issues, in my opinion.
post #3 of 9

That is why I feel if you want a natural birth, stay the he** out of the hospital. They are simply not set up for it.

This is simply a contradiction in terms.

The requirements of the hospital institution and its insurance companies for birthing women, as the IV and the EFM, are totally contrandicated for a natural birth.

I feel a Caesarean Section is far safer in a hospital than a "natural birth" since doctors do not know anything about a natural birth.

They are simply not set up for it.

Stay HOME!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
I meant why have that kind as opposed to another? If you are going to have an IV why would you want that kind?
post #5 of 9
well, it might allow you to move around depending on what kinds of meds they need to give you. i tested positive for group b strep and although my labor went too fast for antibiotics if i had received them it would've been through a hep/saline lock. that way i wouldn't have been tied to an IV the entire time, but just for the few minutes while the penicillin dripped through. if you have a standard IV you're hooked to a pole for the duration. with a hep or saline lock after the meds have gone through you can get unhooked and walk around, etc. my midwives told me they could wrap the port in plastic and i could have even labored in the tub if i had wanted.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
post #7 of 9
Hey there, I am a nurse at a birth center. We only require a saline lock if the mom has a pretty strong history of post partum hemorrhage, if the mom is group b strep positive and wants antibiotics, or if the mom's hemoglobin levels are below 11.0 or so. Moms don't usually disagree with this, because it is discussed extensively during prenatals; it isn't something that is sprung upon them during labor. Alternatives are discussed as well (retesting for GBS, means of raising iron levels, etc).

I don't think that anyone actually does heparin locks any more. They are often still *called* heparin locks, but they actually don't use heparin in peripheral locks anymore, just saline.

Many people choose a saline lock in stead of a continually running IV so they don'e have to mess with the tubing and the IV pole, etc. BUT, if you aren't going to have fluids running, you need to make sure that you are able to drink fluids to keep yourself hydrated. Incidentally, if they say you "aren't allowed" simply be noncompliant. They can't physically wrestle the fluids from your grasp!

In defense of inserting a saline lock during labor.......if someone hemorrages drastically after birth, their vessels are constricted and it is very difficult to insert an IV. Time is of the essence, and if it takes several attempts, that can make the difference between life and death, literally. And while no one wants to be treated like a medical problem, if someone has a history of hemorrhaging after their first three births, doesn't it seem prudent to hope for the best (no hemorrhage) but be prepared for the worst? Healthy women with good nutrition don't usually need an IV or even a saline lock unless something goes awry during labor (like, they vomit for several hours, can't keep fluids down, and are showing signs of dehydration). But, with out of hospital birth appealing to more and more types of people, sometimes we at our facility feel that a saline lock during labor is prudent.

I think one of the main differences between how it is done with us verusu how it is done in the hospital is that you are still treated like an individual. We don't come in and say "We are inserting a saline lock." Prenatally, your previous births are discussed with you. *You* collaborate with the nurse and midwife, and the decision becomes yours. It isn't something that is randomly done to you. Being a major part of the decision making process certainly makes all the difference, don't you think?!?!

Anyhow, just wanted to give a little info!!!

Hope that helps! Lori
post #8 of 9
Okay, so somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but in my understanding, a heparin lock is just the tube in your vein and it's actually not hooked up to a bag. You can move around freely w/ it cuz you're not stuck to a pole. Dh came back from the ER w/ one in so he could go back the next day and have IV meds and they wouldn't have to do a veinipuncture again.
post #9 of 9
Oops, sorry, I guess I should have explained that better!

A "lock" is when the IV catheter is inserted into your vein, and then a little hub is attatched to the catheter part that sticks out of your skin. The exposed catheter and connected hub are taped into place. Then the IV tubing can be connected to the hub to administer fluids and/or medication.

Whether it is a "saline" lock or a "heparin" lock depends upon what sort of medication is inserted into the hub so that no air bubble gets into your vein, and so that a clot doesn't develop at the end of the catheter in your vein. They used to put heparin in the hub, because it is a blood thinner and it prevents clotting. Now they put saline in, because it is not as expensive, doesn't have any side effects (it is simply water with a little salt in it, very similar to the saline you use to rinse your contacts with or use to moisten your eyes), and works just as well.

That is the difference between a saline lock and a heparin lock. Heparin is not used in simple locks anymore, only in ones where the catheter is deep in the body, in a large vessel, and is meant to stay there for a long time: weeks or months, not a couple of hours or days.

Hope that helps clarify things a bit!

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