Labor and Delivery Nurse care for women in the hospital and birth center. They play a vital role in supporting mothers through their labor, delivery, and newborn period. They teach families about specific health concerns relevant to their new baby’s early life and provide skilled nursing care. As a L&D Nurse, you’ll also counsel young families on care options related to pregnancy, delivery and infant feeding.

Labor and Delivery Nurses and patient family
L&D Nurses and patient family

What is Labor and Delivery Nurse?

L&D Nursing encompasses the transition between normal pregnancy, birth and postpartum. L&D nurses are responsible for caring for mothers and their newborn babies in the hospital setting. This means that L&D Nurses monitor vitals of both mother and baby; track and measure contractions; proactively assess and address mothers’ needs (e.g., pain medications or other support); assist with delivery and provide care.

Although women typically deliver without complications during the second trimester, there are instances when complications may arise and mothers need to be treated by a licensed health professional who specializes in labor and delivery. L&D Nurses provide care, counseling and emotional support to mothers experiencing various stages of pregnancy from the prenatal stage through postpartum recovery.

Where do Labor and Delivery Nurses work?

Labor and Delivery nurses often work at hospitals, birthing centers and the newborn nursery. The hospital setting offers the most direct interaction with patients—the nurse is usually responsible for the maternity ward’s safety, cleanliness and efficiency. As a labor nurse you may be assigned to any part of the birthing center, including any area where mothers and babies are cared for by support teams such as nurses or physicians.

What does a Labor and delivery nurse do?

Any med-surge nurse who’s transferred to an L&D floor can tell you that their roles and responsibilities as labor nurses are DRASTICALLY different than average floor nurse.

The patient ratios are typically 1:1 or 1:2 depending on the situation (that means they only care for one or two patients at a time, as opposed to four or five), and a day in the life on our floor looks a lot different than any other part of the hospital!

Let’s go through a typical day of a L&D nurse:

Their hours are flexible, but most hospitals have nurses work 12-hour shifts. This means they either go into work at 7:00 AM or 7:00 PM. And actually, it’s not exactly 7, it’s more like 6:35 or 6:40.

Nurses have to be present at 6:50 to get report from the previous shift. After changed, they walk up to the floor and check the patient assignment.

Their jobs can be:

  • Administering medications and immunizations
  • Assessing patients in triage for preterm labor, active labor, rupture of membranes, pregnancy complications, etc.
  • Assisting in maintaining pregnancy in antepartum mothers
  • Circulating in the operating room to assist with C-sections and other emergency obstetric and gynecological procedures
  • Collaborating with the care management team, including anesthesiologists, physicians, midwives, lactation nurses, and charge nurses
  • Conducting maternal physical assessments
  • Offering newborn care and assessment
  • Providing breastfeeding and postpartum support
Labor and delivery nurse taking care of mother and baby
L&D Nurse taking care of mother and baby

Advantages of Choosing a Career as a Labor and Delivery Nurse

The first advantage of being a labor and delivery nurse is witnessing the incredible moment a new life emerges in the world. You can see the happiness of new mothers and their families when holding their baby for the first time.

You get to work directly with new babies—it’s always a warm feeling to hold a newborn a few minutes after birth.

You can also earn a good salary and have job stability. After at least two years of experience you can also have opportunity to become a travel labor and delivery nurse

Labor and Delivery give Newborn Baby to a Mother to Hold
L&D Nurse give Newborn Baby to a Mother to Hold

Disadvantages of Choosing a Career as a Labor and Delivery Nurse

Although most patients have no complications, emergencies during delivery or labor can put a patient in a critical condition in seconds. Therefore, you must be able to react quickly and do everything you can to help them and the baby.

Other circumstances may occur such as the baby being stillborn or too weak to survive. Other children are born with an unforeseen disability or diagnosis, so guiding parents through shock and trauma can be difficult.

Nursing labor and delivery also requires physical strength and endurance. You will have to stand constantly and you will have to be able to lift, rotate, and physically support your patient.

In addition, to have a good salary and workplace, you need to have certifications such as the RNC-OB, C-EFM, and ACLS (advanced cardiac life support). However, learning more certifications takes a lot of time and money, so it’s worth considering

On which day is L&D nurse day honored?

International Nurses Day (IND) is an international day observed around the world on 12 May (the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth) each year, to mark the contributions that nurses make to society. All nurses are honored on that day and L&D nurses are no exception.