There are several players that make up your care team during labor, birth, and postpartum. The care and support you receive from your partner, your OB or midwife, your doula, and your nurse all have an impact on your birth experience. If you are giving birth at a hospital, you will be assigned a nurse (or two) who will be in charge of the majority of your care. She will be responsible for getting you checked into a room (read: lots of paperwork to sign), monitoring your vitals, communicating your needs and progress to your care provider, meeting your general needs, and answering your questions. In most situations, your nurse is in and out of your room frequently rather than staying with you continuously.
Having a caring, supportive, respectful nurse goes a long way toward making your birthing experience a great one. But if you find that your nurse is not adding positively to your support team, you have the right to request a different nurse. The reality is, not every nurse is the right fit for every woman. And too, nurses are human! Everyone has their "off" days, which can make it hard to provide the best care. In most situations, there will be another nurse on staff that can be assigned to your care. You can request to see the charge nurse or nurse manager and politely ask her for a change in nurses, or, if you are uncomfortable with doing it yourself, task your partner or someone else on your support team to politely request a change in nurse. Rest assured knowing that there will be no love lost from staff -- one of their primary goals is patient satisfaction, so they prefer you speak up!
Do you have an experience with changing nurses during your birth? Tell us about it!