Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

5 Things I Love (The Labour Support Version)

7
January 21, 2014 // Birth & Breastfeeding

One thing I love most about being a perinatal nurse is being able to provide one on one labour support to my patients. I absolutely adore pulling out different ideas and tricks for my birthing mamas to help them cope and move through their labour, and also figuring out what works for them. My comfort zone is hands on support as well as trying to pick up non verbal feedback to see if things are working or if things need to be changed. Some people love to be touched and others not so much.

Labour support can look like a lot of different things, but should always be focused around the labouring woman and her optimal well being. In a labour room you can find me with my hands on a mama’s lower back giving counter pressure, coaching her breathing, encouraging low sounds and bringing her partner into the support. Sometimes her own support people are so fabulous that I end up doing extra nurse tasks that happen during labour, but my all time favourite is being able to provide the labour support.

5 Things I love To Do During Labour As  Nurse

  1. When I bring my patient into her birthing room I often have already snuck in ahead of time and raised her bed up high in the sky. This is my little trick to get them to stay up and moving around and not crawl right into the bed. When the labour bed is near the ground with the blankets opened, it seems that most mothers come into the room and lay down in it.  Just a funny behavioural thing I noticed after 8 years on the job. Except for a rare few situations, labouring laying down can be more intense and also opens more opportunities for further interventions, like more vaginal exams and extra fetal monitoring.
  2. If I get the opportunity to talk with the mother before things get really harried and active, I always ask this question, ‘do you have any special wishes for your birth?‘. I really dislike the term birth PLAN and I feel like the longer and more detailed a birth plan is, the more potential for disappointment and let down to occur. However, give me a bunch of wishes and hopes and I can see what we can make happen! I believe that every birth is an unwritten story and each one if full of surprises, no plan can ever encompass what may or may not unfold as you labour.
  3. I am always mindful of the huge impact that I have on my patients labour. Ask any mama about their birth and you will be met with a detailed story about what went down, who was there, along with the good and the bad. After having my own  babies I’m even more aware of the positive role that a good nurse or care provider can have on a labour.
  4. My words matter and the dialogue I have with my patients during labour is important. I choose my words very carefully and they are always positive, supportive, encouraging and repetitive. I often say the same things again and again, ‘that’s it…keep going…yes, just get through this part…that’s perfect….just like that….you’ve got it’.  I also choose the tone of my voice very carefully to meet the need of what is happening at the moment. My soft soothing s-l-o-w voice compared to my loud in charge voice get different results and each can be useful in different stages and situations.
  5. Back when I had a long induction and labour with Ben, I realized the importance of the support people getting breaks too. There is no point in everyone being exhausted and tired all together. It is much more beneficial if the support people get opportunities to refresh so that they can bring energy to the room. I  try to find a good opportunity for the support person to leave the labour room and get a break. Whether it’s to go and grab a coffee or some lunch, making sure everyone is taken care of is really important. Which is why I always appreciate getting my own break too!

What do you remember most about your labour?

Nurse Amy dances as labour support for me

Dancing as labour support? You bet! Got to love some funny distractions during labour!

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About the author

Hi! I'm Andrea, a 30 something girl who loves living the downtown lifestyle and didn't want to give it up once I started a family. Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

7 Comments

  1. I had a doula, so I remember her, my hubby and my momma most vividly. Nurses were fairly peripheral, although looking back I think they had a better grasp on the extent of my pain. They weren’t pushy, but brought up painkillers a few times very kindly. Turns out I was in back labour. For a long time. Oh, that hindsight!

  2. I like the one about lifting the bed up higher so they don’t lay down. Good idea! I remember I spent most of the time on the floor on my hands and knees, rocking back and forth. I also remember getting in the shower for a while, and when I got out the nurse had a nice WARM towel ready for me. That towel was so nice.

    • Oh the warm towel trick is always a good one! I didn’t know about it until after my first baby and I was feeling all miserable, exposed and chilly after hanging out in the bath for what seemed like a day. It always surprises my patients when I greet them with a nice warm towel after labouring away in the shower or bath.

  3. I actually wrote down my nurses names in my birth story with my son so I would remember them. They helped me a lot and answered my endless questions patiently. In fact one asked me if I were a nurse or training to be a nurse at one point. Nurses are the key points in labour and delivery. I saw my doctor for what seemed like twenty minutes (I’m sure it was actually longer then that), but my nurses they were with me for hours. And it was nice that I had three nurses that just rotated with me so that when one of their shifts ended I still had a face I knew when I geared up to give birth.
    This time around if I don’t go into labour very soon I face dealing with an induction. Here’s hoping I get nurse(s) that love their job just as much as you do.

    • Back when it was my turn to be a patient I loved my nurses so much! Of course, when you give birth where you work you get the perk of being able to pick your own nurse…but I picked them because I knew they would provide great labour support and also handle any emergencies that might’ve come up (induction for type 1 diabetes). Here is hoping that you get a very fabulous nurse with your upcoming birth!

  4. I had a doula, and she and my husband were both incredibly crucial in helping me get through all the hairiness that was my labour. Honestly, I don’t think the nurses did much in my case, the ones who really were great were the NICU ones. It’s awesome that you have figured out all these strategies to help your patients.

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