25+ Nurses Tell All About Labour

Since writing the Nurses Guide To The Ultimate Birth Experience, I thought it may be helpful to give readers some perspective on how to prepare for labour, from labour and delivery nurses. So I went out and asked them!

Courtney Friedman, Registered Nurse and owner of 3 Little Mudpies has written a fantastic article about the Journey to Motherhood. It has been published in i-Am Magazine (page 24) and includes excellent advice with ideas on how to prepare for labour. You can check it out below!

 

Nurses: What Are Your Best Words Of Advice For A Pregnant Mama Worried About Child Birth Or The Postpartum Period? Give Some Tips on How to Prepare for Labour.

Labour….. They can’t stay in there forever. One way or another it is eviction day!

“Be a partner in your care. Find reliable sources of information to make decisions TOGETHER with your provider. Don’t agree to things that you feel uncomfortable with. It’s OK to ask for more information and time.”

“There are no stupid questions.”

“Don’t Google everything or listen to everyone’s birth experiences. Do skin to skin, and drink lots of water especially in the summer. Don’t feel defeated if you get pain medication as each persons pain tolerance is different. Breastfeeding is not always easy but never give up it will come. Ask for help when you get home and set limits to number of visitors who come to see you the first week. Put a “do not disturb” sign on the front door, especially while baby is sleeping. Sleep while your baby sleeps. remember no one is perfect – you will learn your baby’s cues and cries and sometimes it’s OK to let them cry… Especially when you are stressed. You can always walk away and count to 50 …”

How to prepare for labour: learn everything you can from reliable resources. Don’t listen to everyone’s horror stories – Don’t borrow trouble from a road you haven’t travelled yet- Everyone’s path is their own. Practice focusing and use your support systems!

“Sleep when the baby sleeps!”

“After you get home, people who say “call me if you need anything”, always mean it. Ask them to do a freezer meal or a pot of soup that you can stick in the freezer for dinner on those days that you’ve been overwhelmed.”

“Birth does not come with an award (except a healthy baby). If you need pain meds, take them!”

Breastfeeding is like learning to ride a bike. You get on and fall off. Over and over. Then one day you just go!

“Do what feels right for you, your baby and your family! Find a great Doctor or Midwife and look into a birth / postpartum doula. I wish Mommas and families knew that hospital nurses are there to keep you safe. We want to give you the best birth and postpartum experience we can. We will do everything we can for you, but this is not a hotel. Be proactive, as we cannot go home with you… And in postpartum, we have other patients. Sometimes I feel like they have no idea that they are now parents.”

“Everyone in the family has to have patience with each other while everyone (mom, dad and baby) figure out their role. Babies are confused, moms are a mess thinking they are screwing up and dad is running around trying to fix mom and baby (cause that’s what comes naturally to them). Only time and patience can fix this and make a home as normal as it can be with a new baby. Have patience with each other!”

I always tell my patients that we want them to be as comfortable as possible. But, their baby is our patient too. So if we ask them to turn or position in a way that they don’t want to, it’s because we are trying to keep their baby happy.

Another tip on how to prepare for labour: “We all do the best with the circumstances and information that we have at the time. No one should regret what they couldn’t know until later. Having a “good” birth is as simple as that. Do the best you can and let go of the rest. It’s also not a bad parenting philosophy, either.”


“Don’t feel like less of a woman or mother if for whatever reason you have to have a c-section.
Your body is amazing. Trust it. Listen to it. It will tell you what to do.
Have realistic expectations of pain. Pain hurts. Everyone experiences pain differently. Don’t be ashamed to ask for pain medicine or an epidural, even if for nine months you said you would never have it.”


“If you have a c-section , there will be pain. Nurses want to help you hurt the least amount possible. We are not miracle workers. Even with the best pain meds, you may still have some pain. Our goal is to get that pain from an 8 to a 2. Zero is usually not realistic.”

How to prepare for labour: learn all you can before the event and go to childbirth classes. Be informed and ask lots of questions!

“Your Labour RN is your best buddy ever….”

“Don’t wait until the last minute for an epidural if you would like one. The labs and IV fluids required for an epidural take time, and the anesthesiologist may not be available right away, or your nurse. If possible review the positioning required for epidural placement in advance when you are in a manageable level of pain, and prepare yourself mentally to remain still during it. And don’t let people scare you out of it by saying so and so has back problems for life because of the one time that got an epidural (and not years of bad posture and daily wear and tear. …lol).”

Remember this is your birth, your baby, your family. Take care of yourself and don’t be afraid to say no to visitors. Everyone gets excited about the new baby but forgets about your hours of labour.

“It seems like lots of mamas prepare for birth and forget about preparing for motherhood. If she or her partner has never changed a diaper, witnessed breastfeeding/prepared a bottle, swaddled a baby–practice, take a parenting class, and/or read up!”

“When a mom is having trouble nursing I tell her once the baby gets it it will be like a magnet to metal. It all takes time.”

“Birth plans are effective if

A) You know what and why you are asking

B) You accept that birth is unpredictable and are OK with things deviating from your birth plan.”

“Stay off the internet!”

You are you.

Not your sister, cousin, neighbour, or best friend. Don’t compare your pregnancy or birth journey to anyone else’s.

“Don’t believe everything you hear from well intentioned people. Go with the flow.”

“Tour the possible hospital(s) & talk to the nurses there, then use that to pick your doctor since the doctor isn’t the one who takes care of you the entire stay. If the nurses don’t have time for a visitor/tour, they likely won’t have time for a patient, so go somewhere else. I Stress the part about limiting visitors so they can rest, especially the first day, because we all know about the second night feeding frenzy! Try to extend that visiting limitation for the first few weeks. Don’t be afraid to delegate the housework to those visitors! They get to snuggle baby, but only after they do the dishes, cook a meal, etc!”

“They all come out one way or another in my experience…”

At the end of the day, all that really matters is a happy, healthy baby and a happy, healthy mommy!

Happy labouring, mamas!

xo, The Mama Nurse

Do you have any tips on how to prepare for labour? Do you have any other tips and tricks for labour & delivery? Please share in the comment section below!

25+ nurses tell all about labour


I am linking up with:

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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TheMamaNurse

Hi! I am a Registered Nurse on a unit that encompasses labour and delivery, postpartum, medical, surgical and palliative care in a rural hospital in Ontario, Canada. I am a mom of two and am passionate about women's rights, mom and infant care, parenting and nursing. I hope to create an educational, entertaining and highly relatable resource for women around the world. Thanks for stopping by! Xo, The Mama Nurse

28 thoughts on “25+ Nurses Tell All About Labour

    • March 21, 2016 at 7:37 am
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      I’m with ya Julie! It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to wade through the misinformation out there!

      Reply
    • March 21, 2016 at 7:31 am
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      Thanks so much for sharing your positive experiences! Doulas are amazing as well 😀

      Reply
  • March 20, 2016 at 10:17 am
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    I really love the advice of not comparing yourself to everyone else. Your pregnancy and your birth experience are going to be totally unique. And you can’t predict what will happen or how you will feel. Educate yourself, stay informed and positive, but also remain open and flexible to all the possible outcomes.
    Erin @ Stay At Home Yogi recently posted…On Couches, Loss and CompromiseMy Profile

    Reply
    • March 21, 2016 at 7:30 am
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      I completely agree Erin! Otherwise the guilt and disappointment can feel immense. I think this outlook can play a big role in infant bonding and postpartum depression too.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm
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    I love the advice about avoiding the internet – I spent way too much time in those early days Googling everything and freaking myself out. I also like the idea of not comparing yourself to others and recognising that your need to be flexible with your birth plan. You never know how it’s going to go, so it’s important to be flexible and ready for anything! #KCACOLS
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…An apology letter to my babyMy Profile

    Reply
    • March 21, 2016 at 7:25 am
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      Haha I’m definitely guilty of over googling as well… as an OB nurse I knew what to expect from L&D and postpartum…but had no clue how to care for a month old baby! Googling can really wreak havoc on your mind as there’s so much advice in every direction!

      Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 3:09 am
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    Love love love this! Amazing advice! It must drive nurses nuts when people google everything! Brilliantly positive post xx #KCACOLS

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    • March 21, 2016 at 7:23 am
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      Yes they all provided great, well-rounded advice! I’m glad that you enjoyed it 🙂

      Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 3:32 am
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    I love reading this, and it’s so true looking back now. There is so much expectation and focus put on women for the ideal birth experience, that we tend to forget all about the after – once baby is here. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you and baby are healthy. I’m a believer in no matter what birth you have, you will forget that and remember the time after with your baby. Maybe that’s because I had a difficult birth, maybe it would have been different had my birth been easy, but who knows, it’s the time after and being happy that counts. Claire x #KCACOLS

    Reply
    • March 21, 2016 at 7:22 am
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      Thanks for reading, Claire! Happy and healthy mom and babe is what we shoot for. Of course the least amount of interventions is ideal, but sometimes it’s just not in the cards 🙁

      Reply
  • March 21, 2016 at 9:41 am
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    “Stay off the internet!” Lol! That’s a great nugget of info! Everyone’s ready to tell you their horror stories of birthing, and it will just scare you out of your mind. Stay off the internet, stay focused on what’s going on around you. It’s a beautiful experience!
    Samantha recently posted…Twins & Teething (Plus a Giveaway!)My Profile

    Reply
    • April 2, 2016 at 11:14 pm
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      Definitely! The internet is obviously not all bad, but you have to take it all with a grain of salt. I always found reading too much into symptoms and potential side effects can make me worry for no reason 🙂 I think that was what the nurse was suggesting not to do.

      Reply
  • March 22, 2016 at 5:42 am
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    Is L&D nurse the same as a midwife? Ours were fab #kcacols

    Reply
    • April 2, 2016 at 11:12 pm
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      Sort of, not really. In Canada we have midwives who follow moms throughout their pregnancy and post-partum, but it’s the exception more than the rule. Most often moms are delivered in hospital by an obstetrician or family physician, depending on what level of care the hospital is. An L&D nurse works at the hospital and assists all moms with labour and delivery. Usually they are also trained in postpartum care. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • March 22, 2016 at 10:22 am
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    Amazing posy, loads of brilliant advice from people who actually know what they are talking about. All expectant mums should read this, it’s more reassuring than anything I read on Google when I was pregnant xx #abitofeverything
    wendy recently posted…Traditional sponge cake with an Easter twistMy Profile

    Reply
    • April 2, 2016 at 11:10 pm
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      Thanks Wendy! I was hoping moms to be would find it encouraging 🙂

      Reply
  • March 22, 2016 at 12:29 pm
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    Oh, labour and delivery makes MUCH more sense than learning and development nurse!

    There are some good tips in there and so many they’re not all going to work with everyone but it’s good to have that perspective.

    There is a lot of information out there and it’s difficult sorting signal from noise. The Internet’s not all bad! We wouldn’t be on this site without it!

    #abitofeverything

    Reply
    • April 2, 2016 at 11:10 pm
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      Haha! I suppose I should have written the name out in the post title, I haven’t heard much about learning and development nurses!

      Reply
  • March 25, 2016 at 5:01 am
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    I love this post! It wonderful reading about what other people thoughts on this issue. The important message that we have to keep telling is one that runs throughout this post – You are you! Don’t compare! This is a definitely a must read for all new expectant mums. Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything
    Agent Spitback recently posted…A Bit of Everything Week 21My Profile

    Reply
    • April 2, 2016 at 11:09 pm
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      Definitely! Every mom is different, and every birth is different! You never know what labour will throw your way- that’s why I love it so much 😀 As a nurse, I mean. I could go without being in labour again lol.

      Reply
  • March 26, 2016 at 8:43 am
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    Love this! So many great quotes and good advice! My favorite is the one encouraging everyone mom to take a childbirth class. The more you know, the more confidence you can have in the decisions you make. Thanks for collecting so many wonderful words of wisdom.

    Reply
  • April 1, 2016 at 5:54 am
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    This is great Tori!! Lots of great advice for expectant mothers!! There is so much to learn when you are a first time mother and absolutely everything scares you but then you realise that all that pain, effort and hours of labour will definitely worth it when you meet your baby for the first time which is a magical moment. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x
    A Moment with Franca recently posted…Wishlist – Maxi Dresses from House of FraserMy Profile

    Reply
    • April 2, 2016 at 11:03 pm
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      Thanks Franca! All that pain definitely is worth it, and L&D nurses are there to help new parents through it.

      Reply
  • May 2, 2016 at 8:50 am
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    whoah this blog is fantastic i really like reading your articles.

    Keep up the great work! You recognize, many persons are hunting round for
    this info, you can aid them greatly.
    dddd recently posted…ddddMy Profile

    Reply
  • January 30, 2017 at 2:47 am
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    This post really helped me as I prepared for my own labor. Two things I learned. One from the nurse and the other just in my experience:
    1) I think this was sort of one of the points. Ask for more information if you need it. I had asked for an epidural early on but my nurse kept trying to help me labor without it. I finally asked why I couldn’t have one and she explained they just needed me to progress a little more. It helped me so much to just ask!
    2) along the lines of no visitors, if you do have visitors and need them to leave, ask the nurse to kick them out. Mine kicked my own mom out of the room. I really needed a break and alone time with my baby!

    Reply

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