Spotlight: Maternity Nurses

October 2, 2013

A maternity nurse is an RN who works in the maternity ward of a hospital. As a maternity nurse, you have special duties to aid mothers in labor, or those who have recently given birth.

Care for Laboring Mothers

A maternity nurse’s main job is to comfort a mother in labor and assist the doctor to help the labor and delivery process go more smoothly. As a maternity nurse, you will give medications, including IV’s, as needed throughout labor. You will not administer epidurals, however, as that is the work of an anesthesiologist. You will check the mother’s cervix for dilation several times throughout labor. This is important because it indicates how far along she is and therefore how close to delivery. You will also evaluate pain and check the vitals of both mother and child, and offer advice on pain management techniques such as different positions or breathing. When it comes time to deliver the baby, your job will be to assist the doctor, handing him or her instruments and possibly instructing the mother on how to push. Maternity nurses may even deliver a baby now and then, though this is not usually planned.

Care for Mothers Post-Partum

Maternity nurses also care for new mothers as long as they are in the maternity ward post-partum. During this time, you may help her learn to breastfeed her newborn, and you will monitor the baby when he or she is with the parents. You will check for signs of bleeding or other complications, and may help with birthing the placenta. You will also check the uterus post-partum to make sure it is behaving as it should.

Care for Women Who Lose Children

Part of a maternity nurse’s job may be to care for mothers who lose their children, whether to miscarriage or still birth. You may also care for women who have had abortions. Part of this job will also include giving special care to mothers with children in the NICU. Each of these mothers will need a tender bedside manner and comforting presence at this difficult time in their lives.

A maternity nurse can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. If caring for others is in your nature, you may consider becoming a maternity nurse.