15 Things Your Labor Nurse Wants You to Know on How to Prepare for Labor


How to prepare for labor? We asked various labor nurses about the things they would want you to know. The views were different, but they all boiled down to 15 things. So, here is a list of 15 things your labor nurse wants you to know. 

1. Have a Birth Plan

You should be ready with a birth plan outlining what you want to happen when you’re giving birth. Having a birth plan means you have taken time to research and have made informed decisions on your own. A birth plan will help you to be focused and motivated on the big day. Your birth plan should outline what you want for:

  • Pain management – details on medical and nonmedical options.
  • Labor – include things such as who should take photos and how the atmosphere should be, i.e., music and lighting.
  • Delivery – the type of birth you want and who should be present during delivery.
  • Baby care – who should cut the umbilical cord.

Remember to avoid words like “must” and “never” when writing your birth plan because you’re not writing a demand letter. 

2. It’s Going to Hurt

Yes, it’s true labor is painful. An epidural will help, but you might have labor contractions and some discomfort when pushing the baby. Your nurse wants you to know that labor is horrible, but it is manageable. If this is not the first time you’re giving birth; you know this. If this is your first time to be ready to experience worse pain than menstrual cramps. It will be hard, but your labor nurse will be there to help you get through it. 

3. You Might Poop

You shouldn’t be embarrassed about pooping when giving birth because it’s natural. It happens to many women, and it will happen when you’re pushing the baby, and you have stool in your rectum. This proves that you’re using the right muscles when pushing. Fortunately, nurses are very good at hiding this, and they don’t keep track of the number of women that poop. They will clean the mess, and you won’t even notice. 

4. Everything Won’t Work According to Your Plan

This is not the best news, but not everything will indeed go as planned. Picture this: in your birth plan; you indicate that your partner should cut the umbilical cord. During labor, your partner has to attend to an emergency. He misses the entire process, so someone else has to take his place. Or, you had planned on being attended by your doctor, but he/she has to attend to another critical case, so another doctor has to help you. Unexpected things might happen, but you shouldn’t blame yourself. Be ready for surprises.

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5. It Might Take Longer to Give Birth

For first-time moms, active labor might last an average of eight hours. It can be longer than eight hours, around 12 to 18 hours. If you’ve given birth before, active labor might last approximately five hours but less than 12 hours. The time you will labor is affected by things such as how strong your contractions are, how easily you dilate, and how active you’re during active labor. These plus many other factors will affect in long you will labor, so prepare yourself for more labor hours, especially if you’re a first-time mom.

6. No Need for Modesty

If you’re a modest person, know that you will have to throw your modesty out of the window when giving birth. You will be naked, and at least two nurses and a doctor will be there with you. Keep in mind that the nurses and doctors have looked at a lot of naked bodies in their careers, and they don’t care how you look. They are concerned with you and your baby’s health, so your nudity means nothing to them. So, modesty when giving birth is not achievable.

7. Water Breaks Differ

If you’ve been told that you should expect a gush as a sign of water breaking, be ready for a different experience. You might experience a small leak. The gush is what we mostly see in movies, but it doesn’t happen to everyone. Some have reported getting a warm trickle down the legs. So, you might have a different experience from what you think or have read is common.

8. Your Baby Might Look Funny Immediately After Birth

Your baby’s head might not look as you had imagined. This is because of the smooshing that happens when the baby is coming out. The good news is the shape usually lasts for around 24 hours. Also, because of low oxygen, babies are born looking pale and having blue feet and hands, but this clears within a few hours. If you happen to give birth prematurely, your baby might come out with vernix. Vernix is a waxy white substance that protects babies after birth. It is normal to see a different baby from what you had imagined.

9. Breastfeeding Isn’t Natural 

Some babies know how to breastfeed right away, but some need help. So, if you’re breastfeeding for the first time, you and the baby are learning a new skill. You need to be patient and committed to learning this new skill. Nurses will help you, and in some hospitals, you can also be coached by a lactation specialist. So don’t hesitate to ask for help.

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10. You’ll Still Look Pregnant After Giving Birth

It will take time before your belly can return to its normal size. This is because your stomach grows, and your uterus expands during pregnancy. The uterus expands so that it can make room for the baby. After birth, the uterus will slowly deflate, so it will take time before the stomach can shrink. The time it will take is affected by certain factors such as the baby’s size and the woman’s age. So, don’t come with your skinny clothes to wear after delivery, carry what you’ve been wearing while pregnant.

11. Labor Nurses are Not the Same

You’ve probably read or have been told that labor nurses will push you to have a c-section. Don’t believe this because they are not the same. Most of them are willing to help you have your baby the way you want. They don’t want to fail you, so they will help you in any way possible to make your delivery go as planned.

12. Ask for Help

Asking for help entails doing it before you visit the hospital, when at the hospital, and after you leave. Don’t feel bad when you ask for help. Ask for help from your partner, colleague, and even strangers. Most people will be willing to help you in your state. Before you’re due and you feel that something isn’t right, you should reach out to your doctor to ask for help. If you do this, you will prevent future problems. If you don’t ask for help and something terrible happens, you might regret all your life.

During birth, it is okay to ask for help from nurses and doctors. They are there for you and are willing to help you get through labor. If you need help in kicking some people out of your room, let the nurse do it. Even if you feel that what you’re asking is stupid, go ahead and ask. Know that the labor nurse wants to help and will do anything to make you comfortable.

Once you’re out of the hospital, ask the people around you to help you. You’ve gone through an exhausting experience, so you need to rest. Resting means you should get enough sleep, so try to sleep when the baby is sleeping. Also, avoid extensive exercise to prevent issues such as heavy vaginal bleeding. Remember, it is not wrong to ask for help, so go ahead and ask for it when you need it.

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13. Labor Nurses are Professionals

Treat labor nurses as professionals because that’s what they are. Your labor nurse wants you to know that you and your baby safe. Don’t expect your nurse to be there all the time to check on who is coming to visit you. It is also not their job to bring you everything that you ask for. 

14. It’s Normal to Lack Milk

After you deliver, you will produce colostrum, which is the first milk produced after delivery. Colostrum is low in volume, but it is rich in antibodies that protect babies from diseases. Don’t panic when you don’t produce milk right away because your baby won’t starve. Your milk will come in two or three days.

15. Your Nurse Doesn’t Care About Your Looks

Your labor nurse doesn’t care if you have unkempt hair, unshaven armpits, or if you have done pedicure and manicure. Nurses are happy that the day is finally here, and they will help you to welcome your bundle of joy. They have seen it all, and they won’t remember how you look, so don’t worry if labor started early and you were not prepared.

It doesn’t matter where you deliver your baby; just remember to be strong and brave so you can face the day. You and the baby will be okay with the help of labor nurses plus the other professionals. Keep these 15 tips in mind, and we hope they will help in easing your nerves on the long-awaited day.

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