The saline or heparin lock is a type of vein access that is used for many low risk mothers in labor at a hospital. It allows immediate access to the vein in the event of a complication, to delivery IV pain medications
like Stadol, Demerol, etc., should the mother request epidural anesthesia
, require a cesarean section (c-section)
or have a postpartum hemorrhage
This catheter can also be used to deliver other medications like antibiotics for brief periods of time should the mother be group B strep positive or have had her water broken for more than 18 hours.
Some hospitals have a protocol to only use saline in the IV, this keeps the IV flushed and opened. Some hospitals still use heparin, a blood thinner, as they are starting this type of IV access. This is not always the case.
Since the saline lock can be converted to a full scale IV at any point, this is often written into the birth plans of mothers wanting and natural childbirth.
Also Known As: IV, heparin lock