May 6 - 12 is National Nurses Week. The best way for a pregnant person to celebrate nurses is by asking for their help during your labor and birth -- that's what they're there for! Of course, a hearty thank you and sweet treat goes a long way, too. In general, your labor and delivery nurse wants to feel like what they're doing is useful; ultimately, they want to see you and your baby thrive. Below are ways to make use of your labor and delivery nurse's expertise.
Can't find a comfortable position - or - labor that's slowed:
Your nurse has been through a lot of births. They know many tricks and tips for finding comfort, getting labor to progress, positions for pushing, and more. If you're feeling stuck or scared or frustrated, buzz your nurse and ask for help.
You need something you can't find or forgot:
Your nurse will help you find or get almost anything (within reason) to make sure you are more comfortable. You can never have too many towels, pillows, or chux pads.
You haven't seen your OB or midwife in a long time and you have questions:
Your nurse is who reports to and contacts your care provider. If there's something you want your provider to know or questions you need to ask, tell your nurse.
Visitors are wearing out their welcome:
With COVID, this hasn't been much of an issue. When restrictions loosen, however, the visitors will return and your nurse can help run interference by asking them to leave on your behalf. They never have to know it was you who requested some peace!
You have no idea what the monitor strip is reading or why you need fluids before an epidural:
Your nurse may not remember to automatically explain everything that's going on, but they will be happy to explain if you ask! Ask your nurse about procedures or practices, machines, medications -- anything you don't understand or want to know more about.
You have an idea and are currently being monitored and you need to go to the bathroom:
A nurse is your hospital room support ninja. They will assist with getting to the bathroom, unhooking from the monitor, help into the shower, adjusting your bed, and so much more.
You want your nurse like, RIGHT NOW:
Nurses have their limits, of course. They cannot be with you 100% of the time and they may not always be able to respond to your needs as quickly as you would like (due to serving other patients). Also, your nurse is not responsible for how long it takes to get an epidural in place, when your OB or midwife arrives, or how often you need to be monitored.