Giving intravenous (IV) fluids in labor is currently an accepted custom in United States hospitals, although most indications for this practice have not been validated by adequate outcome research. This paper discusses the following questions: 1) Does IV therapy add pain to the woman in labor? 2) Does it have an adverse impact on the attitudes of health care workers and on the laboring woman? 3) Does partial immobilization caused by IV lines have adverse effects? 4) Does the practice introduce a possible route of infection and overdose of fluids? 5) Do IV fluids give adequate nutrition in labor? 6) Does glucose administered intravenously sometimes cause psy-chophysical and neurologic complications? 7) Might forced feeding with glucose in IV fluids in late labor sometimes be harmful? The need for individualized treatment and much more research is emphasized. (BIRTH 15:2, June 1988)