It takes a very special person to be a labor and delivery nurse because it involves so much more care than just medical. Labor and delivery nurses also:
- act as a mother’s guide throughout their stay
- support Mom and her partner through the labor process
- provide comfort through birth
To be the best possible nurse for new moms, you’ll want to embody a series of professional qualities as covered below.
Supporting the Mother
Providing support, whether it’s medical or emotional, is every nurse’s number one job.
Nurses should be comfortable providing all levels of support, depending on what the mother needs. Frequent types of support are:
- Talking the mother through what’s happening and what’s to come
- Holding her hand or supporting her physically in other ways
- Providing calm reassurance and encouragement
- Educating her on how and when to push
Nurses also need to read the situation emotionally to know if the mother wants heavy support or light support.
There are a number of other ways to support the mother during this process. Let’s review them.
1. Ease Stress and Offer Distraction
Because of the pain associated with childbirth, many first time mothers are very stressed and scared about what’s to come.
In addition to offering pain medication, you can ease stress levels and help them have the best birth experience possible by telling a calming story, saying a funny joke, answering questions, and educating them as much as possible (if that’s what they want).
2. Build a Sense of Trust
In almost every other specialty, nurses care for multiple patients at a time. Labor and delivery nurses are often assigned to only one actively laboring patient, which gives them the opportunity to bond quickly with mothers and build a sense of trust.
A laboring mother’s partner may also lean on you and develop a sense of trust to look to you for guidance on how best to support the mother.
3. Give Respect and Listen
Respecting the mother’s wishes go far beyond personal boundaries. The best way to respect your patient is to have an open mind and to listen without judgment.
As you know, many mothers come into the hospital with a detailed birthing plan. They’ve likely also outlined their postpartum care plan as well.
It’s crucial that you respect these plans as much as possible so long as they are medically appropriate.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
Because many moms do have everything planned out, listening and then setting realistic expectations is a great way to provide support.
Hear each patient out entirely, then work through their plan line by line and help them understand what can be done and where they might need to be flexible.
Here is a list of common situations that you may consider mentioning to a patient when setting their expectations upon admittance:
- Inform them about the catheter as many moms don’t know about this necessity.
- Remind them that it can take 20 minutes to an hour to receive an epidural and they should ask for it whenever they need it. There’s no need to wait until they are in unbearable pain.
- Help them to understand that rest is very important when possible. If they’re receiving an epidural, educate them on resting while the pain subsides during early labor.
- Make them aware of the dietary restrictions upon admittance. Once they are in labor, mothers are not allowed to eat anything without doctor’s orders.
Labor and Delivery Nurse: Advocating for the Mother
As a labor and delivery nurse, you will support many different kinds of mothers throughout your career, and it’s important to advocate for them, especially when it comes to communicating on their behalf.
If the mother cannot express her need for privacy, let her know you are happy to usher family members to the waiting room if needed.
If the patient’s partner is causing the patient undue stress from trying to help and the mother cannot express that, you can help the partner understand what’s needed in any given situation.
It’s also important to stay on top of your patient’s comfort level to receive anesthesia and medications as needed.
Being A Labor and Delivery Nurse Is Special
The chance to help someone bring another life into the world will leave you speechless time and time again.
As you continue to gain experience in your nursing career, finding ways to continually be a better caregiver is important.
Are you interested in becoming a labor and delivery nurse? Contact us to learn how we can help you.