What Does a Labor and Delivery Nurse Do?
Labor and Delivery Nurses serve as the primary point of support for OBGYNs. They monitor patients’ vitals, administer medication, and create a reliable connection with pregnant mothers. When a baby is born and is born, the L&D Nurse serves as an information source for parents to keep track of the vitals of the newborn, to make sure that the mother doesn’t suffer postpartum issues, and also to ensure the patients leave their medical care as safely as possible.
Antepartum is the 40-week time frame from conception until labor. In this period, L&D nurses are responsible for monitoring the baby and mother, taking vitals, performing ultrasounds and antepartum fetal assessment, and providing support for expectant mothers specific to their particular health needs.
Intrapartum is the term used to describe the time during labor that involves active work, the birth of the baby, and the birth of the placenta. This is when L&D Nurses are part of the birthing group, aiding the mother during the birthing process and helping the doctors with the safe birth and delivery of babies or infants. L&D Nurses should be prepared for any changes in the birth plan to provide care for mothers and babies effectively. This means they must be ready to assist with any type of birth- vaginal or cesarean resolve issues, handle emergencies, and prepare everything for delivery.
Postpartum care heavily depends on the careful observation of and constant communication between L&D nurses and their clients. Each labor and birth process is the same. Therefore, proper postpartum care must meet the specific needs of each mother and child. The postpartum period can be an emotional transition for mothers and their children, so it is essential to be a devoted listener, supporter, and attentive caregiver. L&D Nurses are expected to explain the physical and mental changes that occur with the birth of a child, acknowledge the trauma the body and mind are experiencing, and provide the necessary support like lactation consultants or mental health professionals.
Neonatal care is the care and treatment of newborn babies. Since there are different levels of care for neonatal babies, which are based on a variety of factors of health for newborns, This is an area that sure L&D nurses choose to develop a specialization. The levels of care can include low-risk care as well as assisted ventilatory, premature birth, and post-op care for infants at high mortality risk.
What Do Labor and Delivery Nurses Do?
Labor and delivery nurses are responsible for many tasks. They usually care for several laboring, pregnant, or postpartum clients at a time. Nurses who are in labor and delivery are a crucial element of a childbirth team. They often spend more time hands-on with patients who are laboring as compared to other healthcare professionals. In addition, they are trained to observe the mother and baby and detect potential issues that could be encountered during or after birth.
L&D nurses are present during vaginal births as well as C-sections. Depending upon the institution, L&D nurses can also offer postpartum or newborn medical care. In addition to their clinical nursing duties for labor and delivery nurses, They are also often labor coaches, offering assistance and pain management methods for laboring patients.
The nurses who work with labor and delivery are skilled in childbirth, pregnancy, postpartum care, and newborns. They typically give classes at hospitals or other local organizations about birth or parenting techniques.
The duties of a labor and delivery nurse may include:
the patient’s obstetric history being recorded
monitoring the vital signs of a patient giving delivery
observing the heartbeat and contractions of the fetus
if necessary, placing IV and catheters and Conducting vaginal examinations to gauge cervical dilation
preparing equipment for a doctor or midwife
assisting during a cesarean birth in the operating room
education of patients
Support for laboring parents’ emotions
monitoring a recovering postpartum patient
calculating a newborn’s Apgar scores
What training do nurses who work in labor and delivery have?
Specific training for a labor and delivery nurse is at least two years of college-level education. Nurses who work in labor and delivery must have licensed nurses with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in nursing. In addition, they’re usually required to have the basic life-support certification and a more advanced life-support certification in cardiac.
Labor and delivery nurses with previous experience can pursue specialized training to obtain an RNC-OB. RNC-OB nurses have to be able to demonstrate 2000 hours of experience in professional labor and delivery experience as well as specific education in the care of pregnant women in hospitals.
Some nurses who work in labor and delivery opt to obtain other qualifications. As a result, they can provide specific assistance for their patients. For instance, the IBCLC certification prepares Labor and Delivery nurses and other professionals to provide professional nursing assistance.
If labor and delivery nurses decide to pursue a graduate degree in obstetrics and Gynecology or women’s health, they could be labor and delivery, nurse practitioner. They can assume more responsibility in the clinical area than the typical nurses in work and birth. They also may prescribe medication.
Other nurses who are involved in the area of labor and delivery include:
- the NICU nurses who offer care to premature infants
- Neonatal nurses who are specialized in infants and newborns younger than one-month-old
- Perinatal nurses who specialize in postpartum and pregnant patients.
- Certified nurse-midwives
- Delivery and labor nurses who are anesthetists
What Does a Nurse in Labor and Delivery Make?
A labor and delivery nurse’s location, experience, and education affect their pay. The U.S. registered nurse’s median wage in 2021 was $77,600 annually.
A yearly payment of $123,780 is anticipated for labor and delivery nurses pursuing different degrees to become nurse practitioners, anesthetists, or certified nurse midwives.
Are Labor and Delivery Nursing a Good Job?
Do you like working with newborns and parents? Do you possess empathy, excellent communication skills, and appreciate teamwork? If yes, you might find working as a labor and delivery nurse enjoyable. L&D nurses typically have excellent job satisfaction and usually can assist families in one of the most satisfying moments of their lives.
But labor and delivery nursing can also be stressful. L&D nurses are responsible for families that have suffered traumatizing events, like stillbirth or complications during pregnancy. In a study published in 2021 in the American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, almost 85% of nurses interviewed reported having an unnatural birth, and 35% fulfilled those criteria of secondary trauma stress.
Registered nurses are predicted to be in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for L&D nurses will rise 9 percent between 2020 and 2030.
What Makes a Good Labor and Delivery Nurse?
Nurses who deliver babies are among the most memorable healthcare professionals. Nearly every parent will remember the nurse they saw during the birth. In addition, being a labor and birth nurse, you can leave an impression on the family during some of the most critical events in their lives.
Certain qualities that make a fantastic labor and delivery nurse are:
Working with patients under stress requires patience from labor and delivery nurses. For example, you could be aiding with preterm delivery, comforting a family following an unplanned c-section, or guiding a laboring lady through painful transitional contractions. Nurses who work in labor and delivery must be patient to handle intensely emotional circumstances.
Flexibility: Pregnancy and labor are uncertain processes. You should act swiftly to adjust to changes in your plans and make important choices. Labor and delivery nurses deal with individuals of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and circumstances. Additionally, they frequently take care of many patients at once.
Empathy: Establishing trust with patients is crucial for labor and delivery nurses who frequently serve as labor coaches and sources of emotional support.
Respect: Even though you may not share their cultural, religious, or personal beliefs around delivery, you still need to give them high-quality treatment and patient education.
Love of learning: The field of labor and delivery frequently calls for continual training and certification. You can enroll in specialized courses in fetal monitoring, pain management, breastfeeding assistance, managing preterm labor, and more.