10 Childbirth Secrets Straight From a Delivery Nurse
Labor is one of the most emotional, beautiful, and challenging experiences a woman can go through. By her side, quite often, is a team of delivery nurses who are trained to make this special moment go as smoothly as possible. POPSUGAR spoke with one delivery nurse, who wishes to remain anonymous and who works for a major hospital in LA that excels in caring for high-risk pregnancies, about what it's really like helping with the miracle of life every day. Here are 10 childbirth secrets that only a delivery nurse could tell you.
We May Come Off as Unfriendly For a Reason
"Delivery nurses are extremely caring, but we may not show emotion since sometimes we have to be very technical and have the ability to remain calm in difficult and stressful situations," the nurse told POPSUGAR. "Often times we have to be strong for the patient, since they're handling a different situation in which they don't know the outcome."
Birth Plans, While Important, Are Not Our Biggest Concern
"We do want to adhere to your birth plan, and we really are your health advocate," she said. "We give you all the information so you can make an informed decision about your health care, but ultimately we are concerned about safety and will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of mom and baby."
Our Days Are Rarely the Same
"It's a constant revolving door. You never know what type of patient situation is going to come in. You have to be prepared for anything and everything," she continued. "Sometimes I feel like a therapist, because my patients need a lot of emotional support. I do want to ensure my patients feel well taken care of and heard each and every shift. I love what I do."
You Should Never Be Embarrassed During Labor
"I don't even think about it anymore. It's just part of my job. I just want to do everything possible to make my patients extremely comfortable so they feel at ease," she explained. "Labor does not define a person. My patient is human, and I try to be as nonjudgmental as I can because I'm dealing with different cultures, pasts/experiences, and expectations that I have to tailor my approach."
Sometimes Things Go Differently Than Expected
"I wish expectant moms would be more understanding of the scenario and realize that it may not go according to the birth plan. It's important to have realistic expectations," she assured. "It doesn't happen like you see in the movies. You have to be prepared and ready for anything. Also, be an active listener during pushing, and rely on your doula/nurse to give you valuable feedback in order to push more efficiently."
Those Delivery Photos May Be Lovely, but They Can Complicate Labor
"I don't like photographers in the room since sometimes nurses feel they have a hidden agenda (like what are the really trying to photograph)," she said. "Also, they often interfere with the workflow or are in the way when procedures need to be performed, especially during emergency situations."
The Best Advice We Can Give Is to Keep an Open Mind
"Be open-minded. You may want to control the situation, but ultimately your baby will tell us which direction we are headed," she explained. "We often have to continuously monitor the baby during active labor to ensure the baby is tolerating the stress of labor. For example, you may have wanted to deliver vaginally, but your body may have stopped dilating at five centimeters when it needs to be at 10 centimeters in order to deliver. In that case, the patient will have to go for a C-section. Another example is if a patient is laboring, and the baby has a deceleration in heart rate that does not come back up after a few minutes. That would be an emergency C-section. Again, our main concern is safety for the baby and mom."
Seeing Women Naked Is Nothing New
"I don't even notice it. It's a completely objective assessment," she said. "For example, I have a lot of coworkers deliver at my work. I know them personally, but when I assess their vaginal area, I'm not thinking about our connection. I'm strictly assessing the area in a medical standpoint. I also realize it's difficult for the patient, so I try to make them feel comfortable from the moment I step foot into the room."
Turn Off the Phone
"It's highly annoying for the patient when the significant other is on the phone making calls or texting during labor," she continued. "You want a partner who is supportive, caring, present in the moment, and willing to communicate with you in order to make things easier."
You and Your Partner Need to Be on the Same Page
"It's annoying when the partner disregards the mom's wishes. I see many times how the partner invites whomever they choose into the delivery room whom the patient previously denied," she explained. "This causes tension in an already-stressful situation. The decision of who to have in the delivery room is one that should be agreed upon together. It should be a team."