June 09, 2021
A Sign of the Times or A Sign of What is Lacking? You Decide
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 1 Comments
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to support doula clients as they welcomed their baby in a local hospital. I found this sign placed prominently on the baby warming station and simply loved everything that it represents. The sign reads "Please limit your conversations to THIS BIRTH. Quietly. It is THEIR birth. No other conversations apply."
At times, it is anticipated that a baby may need a little bit of additional assistance immediately after birth and a NICU team is called to be there as the baby is born. This team can consist of several clinicians including respiratory therapists, NICU nurses and physicians, nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists and more, all dedicated to support the newborn in the moments after birth.
The team is called to the room and awaits the baby’s birth clustered in a group around the baby warmer. Sometimes they are there a few minutes before birth, and other times they are waiting expectantly for a longer period.
All the while this team is at the ready in the room, the birthing parent is pushing and working hard to get their baby born. This new group of people are not very far away from the “main action.” The rooms are small. It is not hard to hear conversations being had by the NICU team as they wait to receive the baby.
In the past, when I have attended births, I can confirm that these conversations are seldom about the events unfolding, but rather idle conversation to pass the time as they wait. I have always felt that the off topic conversation is disrespectful to the significance of the moment. Families have also expressed after the birth their feelings about at times having overheard these non-relevant discussions.
I appreciate that the hospital culture has changed to acknowledge that the moment of birth is not the time that staff who are “standing by” for the baby should be discussing anything other than the situation at hand. At this particular hospital, this is a newly placed sign, as I have never seen it in the past 18 years I have been attending births at the facility.
As a childbirth educator, I do share options that families have for asking that conversations unrelated to their care be held outside the room. This option is discussed during the class time when we are working on birth plans. What makes this sign extra special, is that now, the families do not have to request this consideration, but rather it is the norm for the facility.
I believe this reminder to staff at the baby station speaks volumes about the culture and professionalism that is expected from those supporting birthing families. I wish every facility shared the same values. It may be a small thing and seem insignificant, but it is not.
Have you heard or seen similar reminders of what constitutes respectful care for birthing families at the hospitals that your childbirth class families birth at? Let me know if the comments below.
Photo credit: Alice Turner, CD(DONA), LCCE
TagsBirth Newborn Second Stage Nurses Sharon Muza