Three Things Nurses Wish You Knew About Childbirth

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Submitted by The Perinatal Advisory Council

newborn babyPAC/LAC distributed a survey designed to find out what labor and delivery nurses think women can do to better prepare for childbirth to more than more than 2,000 perinatal nurses in the Southern California region. More than 525 nurses responded; 56% of those who responded have more than 21 years of experience in nursing.

Here are three things that perinatal nurses wish women knew about childbirth:

Labor and Delivery Classes

Almost all agree women should take labor and delivery classes (94%)

  • "Usually the more prepared women are the better the experience. The fear factor decreases and with it so does the pain."
  • "Women think that The Baby Story and similar shows on TLC are realistic; watching them is preparation for childbirth. It is not. This is not the typical birth experience."
  • "It should be mandatory for women to take classes prior to childbirth for the labor and delivery and baby care/breast feeding experience.:
  • I believe it helps the mothers be more informed, realistic and work well with labor and delivery and care of themselves and newborn."

Birth Plans

Most believe a pregnant woman should prepare a birth plan (79.8%)

  • "Developing a birth plan takes conscious thought and may assist (especially first time) mothers with being more informed about options."
  • "A birth plan is good as long as they are aware of the need to be flexible with it and not expect for everything to go exactly as planned."
  • "I think creating a birth plan can be an educational experience for the patient. However, I've noticed a lot of people use pre-made birth plans from the Internet, which doesn't really help them to be more knowledgeable about the process of labor of delivery. I'm not convinced simply having a birth plan will help patient's to be more knowledgeable or prepared about the process."
  • "Birth plans must be created with a health care professional who understands the realities of what is available at our particular hospital."

Doulas

More than half of labor and delivery nurses welcome (the right) doulas (63.3%)

  • "It depends on the doula; some are great and some interfere with nursing care."
  • "A doula can be a great support if a woman is trying to have an unmedicated delivery. A woman really needs one-to-one care when she is laboring without any pain meds."
  • "Continual labor support from a confident and knowledgeable support person makes a huge difference in outcomes."
  • "Doulas can be helpful as long as they are supportive, not adversarial with the nursing staff."

"While we fully expected nurses to say that women need to be better informed about the birth process by attending classes, we were intrigued by the number of positive responses towards birth plans and doulas -- a relatively recent development in modern childbirth," says Cindy Fahey, MSN, RN, PHN, Executive Director, PAC/LAC. "As the leading source of information on perinatal care, PAC/LAC will work with our members to better understand how women can better prepare for childbirth and integrate birth plans and doulas when appropriate."

The Perinatal Advisory Council: Leadership, Advocacy and Consultation (PAC/LAC), provides information on perinatal care to hospitals, community-based organizations and other healthcare systems in California. It also offers custom consulting services including program planning, research, educational programs, grant writing, program evaluation, advocacy and facility financial management.

Copyright © The Perinatal Advisory Council. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.