But my friend that’s a nurse said…

11Mar10

Everyone knows someone who knows someone who works in a labor and delivery unit at a hospital.  Unfortunately, these people may not be as knowledgeable about childbirth as you would think they should be!

I remember when I decided I wanted to do something in the field of childbirth.  I mentioned this to a nurse friend of mine.  I told her that I would like to become a childbirth educator or a doula one day.  She casually replied that at her hospital, all the childbirth educators are nurses.  I left feeling so discouraged!  She had no idea of the world of independent childbirth education classes available to expecting parents!

While observing a Bradley childbirth class, one of the students had a cousin who works at the hospital where she would be delivering.  She was working out the details of her birth plan, and called her cousin for advice on if her requests would be honored by the nursing staff.  Her cousin began to doubt this woman’s plan for a natural childbirth! She said she’s never even seen a mom deliver a baby without medication before.

These nurses don’t mean any harm.  They are just relating what they know- which is what they were taught in school, and at the hospital.  The procedures they abide by every day are ingrained into them.  They don’t realize that what they know of as birth doesn’t have to be the only way a birth can happen!

On the other hand, maybe things are changing.  A friend of mine just finished nursing school, and her favorite rotation was OB.  We were discussing childbirth, and she seemed confident that when she gave birth she was going to have a great experience.  She said, “It’s all about your birth plan!  The hospital staff should know to do everything according to what’s on your birth plan!”  It’s good to know that student nurses are taught that!

One important aspect of having a good hospital experience is to make sure the nurses are on your side.  Many moms and dads actually bring goodies such as brownies or bagels & coffee for the nursing staff.  One of my favorite blogs At Your Cervix (a labor and delivery nurse) says that the nurses at her hospital really root for moms “going natural”.  And if you find yourself with a nurse that you don’t get along with, speak with the nurse in charge, and ask for a new nurse.  After all, it is your birthing time!

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