Labour is hard work; nutrients and fluids are needed throughout labour for mother and the baby. As labour progresses, many women do not wish to eat or drink, and may become nauseated and vomit. Ice chips and sips of fluids may help.
An IV is most often used during labour to administer medications such as Pitocin (see next column) or antibiotics. Antibiotics may be needed if the bacteria Group B Streptococcus has been found in your vagina during pregnancy.
These are drugs which are used to start or strengthen labour contractions. They are sometimes given if the baby is overdue, if labour is not progressing, or if the water (amniotic sac) has broken for some time but contractions have not yet begun.
Prostaglandin E is usually given through the vagina in gel or tampon-like form to ripen the cervix.
In some health care centres, you can go home after the administration of prostaglandins and wait for your labour to begin.