A day in the life of a labor and delivery nurse (2024)

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by Baylor Scott & White Health


Labor and delivery nurses are present for one of the most pivotal moments in people's lives. They support mothers before, during and after childbirth and are crucial members of the delivery room team.

One such labor and delivery (L&D) nurse is Reaghan Reynolds, who works at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center—Fort Worth. Here, Reaghan offers her insight into her day, highlighting the hard work, empathy and the incredible commitment that defines her profession.

Is there such a thing as a “typical day” as a labor and delivery nurse?

There is no such thing as a typical day as a labor and delivery nurse. While I do expect to deliver babies each shift, no two deliveries are the same. Each mother has her own unique set of circ*mstances and needs that require intricate observation and care.

From the beginning of the labor process at check-in to delivery, L&D nurses must find specific ways to treat each mother, from the medicine she receives to the hands-on care that brings her new bundle of joy into the world. Sometimes, if we are really lucky, we will get a drive-by delivery, which is where the mother is already laboring as her car rushes into the drop-off area.

Nurses can’t predict emergencies, so I must always be prepared to intervene and provide the best care for my patients. While this is typically a joyful job in which we get to experience the happiest of days with new parents, we unfortunately also experience some of the darkest days. No mother comes in expecting the worst, but the toughest part of our job is one that is tragically inescapable. Luckily, most of our shifts are filled with joy, and for that I am always grateful.

What inspired you to become a labor and delivery nurse?

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to work in the healthcare field. When I was 7 years old, my mother had a miscarriage. As I was so young, I was not able to fully grasp the impact of that tragedy. I will always remember that day, but I specifically remember how the nurses treated my mom, myself and my other family members. Their intimate care and kindness spark in me a desire to extend that same care to those around me.

Years later, I asked my mom why the loss had occurred, and I was inspired to think deeply about providing care to others who may be going through a similar situation.

A day in the life of a labor and delivery nurse (2)

When I attended Texas Christian University for college, I worked through several clinical rotations in my time as a nursing student. After visiting and working in several different units, I found myself gravitating toward the Labor and Delivery unit most. For me, this was as clear of a sign as I could ask for, and I knew that I wanted to be an L&D nurse.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

The delivery of a baby is one of the most joyful moments for me; I find the experience is truly amazing. There is something beautiful about being there to help a new mother when she is at her most vulnerable and assisting her when she needs it.

How do you collaborate with other members of your team, including obstetricians and midwives, to deliver the best care for a mother during labor?

I am in constant communication with providers. I frequently suggest unique plans of care that are specialized to women and their needs. Sometimes expectant mothers will come with their own birth plan, or even a list of things they do or do not want during their stay.

My role is to communicate these desires to the physicians and help facilitate labor the way they want, whether that be labor positions, birthing plans or specific requests. As mothers in the unit progress through labor, the doctors and midwives are readily available if I need them to medicate the mother or begin the delivery process.

What advice would you give to expecting mothers to help them feel more prepared and empowered for their labor and delivery experience?

One of the most important things I recommend is for any expecting mothers to educate themselvesbefore coming in for delivery. Many hospitals provide classes, education and added supportfor parents, so I highly encourage the utilization of these resources.

Secondly, know your labor preferences: breastfeeding, epidural, pain medications, birthing position, skin-to-skin, etc. More than anything, don’t be afraid to communicate these needs to your nurse!

No matter how a mother decides to handle her delivery, the most important outcome is a healthy baby and a healthy mom. Your delivery may not go according to every preplanned detail, but I want you to know that you can trust your nurses and doctors. We will do everything in our power to keep you and your baby in good health.

How do you maintain a work-life balance and take care of your own well-being?

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can oftentimes be tricky as a nurse, especially on the night shift. However, there are a handful of things I do to try and form a sustainable balance. In my free time, I like to work out to help de-stress and clear my head. I also enjoy reading my Bible, spending time with family and playing with my puppy.

I also take care of myself by cleaning my house. I find that I think most clearly when I’m in a clean and organized environment, so I try my best to keep things neat and tidy so that I can rest comfortably.

Lastly, I do everything I can to get as much sleep as possible after a shift. Recovery is so important; I always make sure to make plans to truly rest on my off days. Rest is a must, so I will always make it one of my top priorities.

Learn more about our labor and delivery services.

A day in the life of a labor and delivery nurse (2024)


What does a typical day as a labor and delivery nurse look like? ›

L&D nurses have many roles. They are there for their patients from beginning to end during the delivery process. They aid in procedures that need to be performed before labor, like taking vitals. They are there when the baby is delivered and they educate parents on what they should do now they have given birth.

What are the daily tasks of a labor and delivery nurse? ›

These nurses care for the newborn during the postpartum period (i.e., immediately after birth). Labor and delivery nurses also administer medication, closely monitor vital signs, and educate patients and their spouses/partners and other family members.

What is it like to be a labor and delivery nurse? ›

As an L&D nurse, you will not only be responsible for monitoring the progress of labor, administering medications, and assisting with deliveries, but you will also provide emotional support and education to expectant mothers and their families.

What is the day in the life of an OB nurse? ›

OB Nurse Labor and Delivery Tasks

From the moment an expecting mother enters the hospital to the moment she is released to go home, the OB nurse is there to help. This includes: Utilizing equipment to monitor fetal heart rate and contractions with frequent updates to the MD. Prepping the mom for delivery.

Do labor and delivery nurses give shots? ›

After Delivery: Once the baby is born, the labor and delivery nurse will perform all necessary tests and assessments on the baby and administer any needed injections or medications.

Do L&D nurses assist in C sections? ›

L&D nurses assist during both vagin*l births and c-sections. Labor and delivery nurses may also provide postpartum or newborn care depending on the hospital.

What are some interesting facts about labor and delivery nurses? ›

During labor, these nurse specialists will be monitoring both the baby's heartbeat and the mother's vitals. They will be the first responder to any complications. And when the physician is called in, they are second in command and act as the primary advocate for the mother.

Why do nurses want to work in labor and delivery? ›

What is it about labor and delivery that makes it such an attractive career choice? For many, it's the competitive salary and in-demand job opportunities, while for others it's witnessing the miracle of life and advocating for mothers and their babies.

How stressful is labor and delivery nursing? ›

Working as a labor and delivery nurse certainly has its challenges—from being in a fast pace work environment where you need to constantly monitor patients and help make quick decisions to dealing with a tragic loss. It can be challenging, hard, and stressful.

Is labor and delivery RN stressful? ›

Working in a labor and delivery unit can be rewarding, but also stressful. You have to deal with the emotional and physical demands of helping women and their families through the process of childbirth, as well as the potential complications and risks that may arise.

What degree is best for labor and delivery nurse? ›

Earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. An ADN degree serves as the minimum degree needed and the quickest pathway to become a labor and delivery nurse. To take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), nursing students must earn an ADN or a BSN degree.

How much free time does a nurse have? ›

Typical Nurse Schedules. Nurse schedules vary somewhat between employers and healthcare facilities, though most nurses work 8-,10, -or 12-hour shifts. 12-hour shifts have become increasingly common, with many nurses working four days on and three days off.

Is an OB nurse the same as a labor and delivery nurse? ›

OB nursing is broader than labor and delivery, caring for mothers throughout pregnancy, through labor, and after delivery (antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum care). While an OB nurse can assist with labor and delivery, their skills and training encompass a broader skill set.

Is it hard being an OB nurse? ›

Your role as an OB nurse is vital. The specialty is unpredictable, and you'll need to be prepared for the challenges it can bring, including complications during childbirth.

What does a work week look like for a nurse? ›

Full-time would be five 8 hour shifts, four 10 hour shifts, or three 12 hour shifts per week. The common standard is 36-40 hours per week to be considered full-time. Part-time would include the same 8-hour, 10-hour, and 12-hour shifts, however, the part-time staff member would just work fewer days.


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