Maternal IV Fluids and Weight Loss in Newborns

If your baby is born in a hospital, there may be a sense of urgency to weigh the baby. This is not an evidence-based practice but rather a clinical habit that may cause harm.
The evidence supports an uninterrupted period of skin-to-skin contact between mother and child of at least an hour. This means the ‘standard’ checks can be delayed until later. Rather than treating every baby the same, taking each birth as a new event is important. The course of action will depend on how the birth unfolds and the health of the mother and baby.
If all is well, leave well enough alone. And not just for the first hour. Maybe even the first day, or two.


Maternal IV fluids (epidural, synthetic oxytocins, hydrating fluids via an IV drip) can inflate the newborn’s birth weight….meaning that the baby is at risk of being determined to have lost “too much” weight post-birth, and the mother is pressured to give formula.

This medical blog summarises a study from 2011 showing this link
The study suggested that it would be more meaningful to weigh babies after 24hrs. The study has not been disproven, yet the practice of weighing immediately continues.

A further note on IV fluids:
The fluids can also cause ‘breast oedema meaning the breast can be swollen, making attachment/latch difficult. Knowing this helps to make Informed Decisions. Knowing this may happen if you receive IV fluids during your labour will allow you to manage the first 24hrs better. See this article from the Australian Breastfeeding Association about Reverse Pressure softening. A very handy technique to know.

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