What is Obstetrics Nursing?

P.S. Jones

Obstetrics nursing is a healthcare profession that focuses on the care of the pregnant women and the babies they give birth to. Obstetrics nurses independently assess, implement, and evaluate care within the stages of childbirth. Obstetrics is a surgical specialty that deals the care of women and children during pregnancy, childbirth and the time immediately following. Obstetrics nurses may further specialized in perinatal nurses or labor and delivery nurses.

Obstetrics nursing focuses on the care of pregnant women.
Obstetrics nursing focuses on the care of pregnant women.

To become an obstetrics nurse in the United States, some students will become licensed practical nurses (LPN) and get some entry-level nursing experience before continuing her education. Others will skip this step and enter an accredited college with a Bachelors of Nursing program, where the student will choose a concentration in obstetrics. In most cases, a new nurse will complete a year of clinical nursing experience before passing the state board nursing and become a registered nurse (RN). The finally step to enter obstetrics nursing in the US is to obtain certification through the National Certification Corporation (NCC). Nursing training often follows a similar path in other countries, but may differ from place to place.

An individual must be a registered nurse before becoming an OB-GYN nurse.
An individual must be a registered nurse before becoming an OB-GYN nurse.

The duties of obstetrics nursing can vary depending on the needs of the patient. An obstetric nurse may assess each mother and baby to develop an individualized care plan, while collaborating with physicians or other health care providers. Obstetrics nursing also involves monitoring the mother and baby for adverse reactions. If this happens, the obstetrics nurse will make changes to the patients' care plan based on her own medical knowledge as well as the advice of the patients' physicians.

The duties of an obstetrics nurse vary depending on the patient.
The duties of an obstetrics nurse vary depending on the patient.

For most of the time that a woman is in labor, she is attended to by a obstetrics nurse. The nurse may administer pain medication or provide other ways to manage labor pains. During this time, the nurse will monitor the labor progress and alert the physician when it is time for the birth. For most child labor without any complications, the physician does not step in until it is time to deliver the baby. At this point, the nurse will turn over the delivery to the physician, but will stay to assist.

Obstetrics is a surgical specialty dealing with the care of women and children during childbirth.
Obstetrics is a surgical specialty dealing with the care of women and children during childbirth.

After labor, an obstetric nurse also teaches the patient about the care related to postpartum health and newborn care. Obstetrics nursing involves providing emotional support for the new parents as they try to adjust to their newborn baby. An obstetrics nurse might help a mother and baby become comfortable with breastfeeding or demonstrate various swaddling techniques to a new father.

An obstetrics nurse may be responsible for postpartum care of both mother and child.
An obstetrics nurse may be responsible for postpartum care of both mother and child.
An obstetrics nurse may help a mother and baby become more comfortable with breastfeeding.
An obstetrics nurse may help a mother and baby become more comfortable with breastfeeding.
An obstetrician may prescribe prenatal vitamins to expectant women.
An obstetrician may prescribe prenatal vitamins to expectant women.
An obstetrics nurse may help manage a woman's labor pains.
An obstetrics nurse may help manage a woman's labor pains.
Obstetrics nurses may choose to specialize in labor and delivery.
Obstetrics nurses may choose to specialize in labor and delivery.

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Discussion Comments

Moldova

Cafe41-You were very lucky to have had an obstetric nurse to yourself. Most obstetrics nurses care for multiple patients. An obstetric nurse salary averages around $60,000 a year.

These nurses work so hard. It all seems like they do everything and the doctor comes in at the last five minutes, and then the delivery is over. I would love to see obstetrics nurses earn more money because they work so hard.

cafe41

Suntan12- When I was in the hospital, pregnant with my first child, my obstetric nurse that was assigned to me stayed with me the whole time. I was her only patient which was really nice.

She took such good care of me, that I went back to see her and brought her a gift. I still have a picture of her, and I always tell my daughter about the experience. The career of nursing is a special one.

suntan12

Sunny27- That is so true. Many women experience high blood pressure during pregnancy and some even develop preeclampsia which is dangerously high blood pressure that needs to be controlled.

The obstetrics nurse job description really requires her to monitor the patient's blood pressure and overall condition.

She not only takes the blood pressure, but also she looks into a fetal monitor that reviews the heart rate of the baby.

In addition, the obstetrics nurse also monitors each patient’s labor stages. She will also administer basic medication, and will alert the anesthesiologist that the patient would like an epidural.

An epidural blocks pain the lower back and in the pelvic region. It numbs the pain completely, but this also poses a challenge for the obstetrics nurse because if the patient can not feel anything, then they will have difficulty pushing when it becomes necessary.

This can tear the vaginal area with lacerations because of an episiotomy.

Sunny27

Great article- I want to add that the obstetrics nurse also takes the mother’s blood pressure to make sure that it is maintained at an acceptable level.

Pain increases blood pressure, so this is monitored closely during labor.

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