how do you become a Labor/Delivery Nurse?

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Sorry abou the cross-posting. I might have posted to the wrong group, previously...

Hi all.

My wife wants to return to school and become a labor/delivery nurse. It's all she wants to do. So, for the holidays, my big gift to her is going to be a check made out to a local nursing college, and a boat load of study materials.

The problem here is......What courses should she be taking to become a Labor/Delivery nurse? Is there an LD certification like RN? Is the goal to get a degree or certification?

I am an IT specialist (computer geek) and most of my career has been spent keeping up with my certifications. A college degree is only necessary if I want to work for a company that requires a degree, or if I really want to pursue management. Otherwise, I can continue to manage databases, fix computers, and configure networking as long as I'm up to date with the certifications.

I also want to buy study materials for my wife. If there is a specific test or tests which are directed towards L/D, I want to buy her some books and Computer-Based training (MOSBY to name one brand).

So here's the advice I need;

1 - What certification(s) and/or degree(s) does a person need to ultimately become a labor/Delivery nurse?

2 - Would you recommend favorite study materials and references, to PRE-Prepare her for classes and the new career!

(by the way, I'm not going to pick her classes out for her. I want to be able to give her as much information as possible so she can make educated choices. Right now, she thinks that this is a pipe dream and we can't afford to send her to school. I can't wait to surprise her)

Thank you all so much. I am hoping to surprise my wife with the tools to build her new career.




173 Posts

Your wife will first need to get her RN (either ADN or BSN). After graduation she need to apply for a job in a labor and delivery unit. Not all units will hire a nurse right out of school into labor and delivery. She just has to look around. She could also work in Post partum as a new nurse to see if this area of nursing is what she wants. As far as other classes to prepare. She should take a fetal monitoring class.



1,024 Posts

Yeah, they rarely hire OB directly out of school. What she could do however, is to work as a CNA in the OB dept. That's what I started out as, and the hospital hired me as a Nurse Tech (usually a Senior standing student, but each hospital is different). When I am done, I will have a job for me in L & D. Once I started as a NT, I received 10 weeks of training (same as RN), which included the fetal monitoring portion.



184 Posts

Does she have any college courses under her belt?

I just bought these great study aids from

they have a really nice Nursing one, Anatomy one, the heart and brain and some others...they are not too expensive and are laminated with holes punched - I think they would be nice for her. A stethoscope and Blood Pressure Cuff would also be nice to wrap up for her.

What a great guy :D

I also bought some nice med CD's off ebay


550 Posts

What a super guy! That is an awesome present! There will be a little more legwork involved than just paying for college, but I know for me I would be so thrilled if my husband surprised me with that for Christmas. (Of course he is paying for my tuition and been totally awesome as well.) Um, I really don't know that I would go out and buy a lot of books or study guides right now though. She will have to go to a college (or there are a few places that still have hospital programs) to get started. You have to be an RN first before you become a L&D nurse. Besides the fact your wife might be pleasantly surprised and find herself attracted to other areas of nursing as well. Anyway, here's the reason I wouldn't go out and buy a lot of books. In nursing school she will be required to buy a lot of books and they will be specific to each school what they require. I think you'd be wiser to save the money for when she actually starts. You usually can't go straight into nursing school either. There are prerequisite courses that must be taken at almost every school before she could apply or enter. Some have waiting lists and some are very competitive. What you need to do is start calling your community colleges and universities and see who has nursing programs. Ask them to send you all their information and I think that'd be a super way to suprise her. Wrap up all the info and put a blank check in there for her. Also, make sure you send your wife here to the board. There are plenty here that will help and encourage her.


Oh just edited to add that I agree with the post above a nice stethoscope would be something that would make a nice present too! Much better than spending the money on books you aren't sure about.


2,259 Posts

Specializes in LDRP; Education.

Hi Steve,

Your wife sounds just like me! :D

Your wife needs to go to nursing school, obtain her RN, and while in school it would be nice if she had some OB clinical experience; post-partum or even prenatal class teaching experience (the school will determine what experiences she will have, but tell her to always look and ask hospitals or even a working RN if she would agree to train her during clinical time, etc and work this out with the school).

I was a new grad and hired directly into Labor and Delivery, and loved it. I was very determined to get hired and work there, so I did everything I could to ensure that my chances were the best they could be.

I have worked other areas but I always go back into that OB. It's where my heart is.

Once your wife IS a Labor and Delivery nurse, she can then become certified in fetal monitoring, and other areas - but since OB can be very overwhelming, I would advise her to wait and just learn the basics.

Best of luck to her and you - and keep us updated!


408 Posts

"1 - What certification(s) and/or degree(s) does a person need to ultimately become a labor/Delivery nurse?

2 - Would you recommend favorite study materials and references, to PRE-Prepare her for classes and the new career!"

An ADN is an Associates Degree, which requires about 2 years of the nursing program, plus any pre-requisites and general ed classes like english and math. Pre-reqs are usually science courses like anatomy, physiology, & microbiology. Each college has their own set of pre-reqs, so it depends on what the specific requirements of the school are. It took me a few years to get my pre-reqs and general ed classes out of the way so I could get into the RN program.

The BSN is a four year program, plus the pre-reqs, and a diploma program is usually about 3 years, but it is training that is done in a hospital (not too many of those left).

The best way to get started is as Teresa suggested, to contact the nursing programs near you and find out what is required.

You are so thoughtful to do this for your wife. I have no doubt that she will reach her goal with such a supportive husband!


10 Posts

I was prepared to log on and see that there were no responses, hang my head low, knowing I'd have to keep look.

I was pleasantly surprised to see GREAT POSTS with very helpful information.

This is truly great.

My wife already has a degree in life-drawing (i think that's whata it's called). She used to do medical illustration (the kind of stuff you see in Grays anatomy) and she describes one of her classes as "cadaver diving". Quite frankly I can't watch someone stick a needle in someone elses arm.

I am in awe of you folks. I don't care how much you are underpaid, just like most teachers.

I think many of my wifes credits will transfer when she continues on with her education.

Next stop....calling Rutgers nursing school!


2,259 Posts

Specializes in LDRP; Education.

Hey Steve,

You asked about books to give her to Pre prepare her: She'd LOVE Core Curriculum for Maternal Newborn Nursing. Even if she doesn't use it right away, she will when she's working.

That would be a cool Xmas present; that and an INFANT stethoscope! :D


2,259 Posts

Specializes in LDRP; Education.

Here's more info on that book:

Core Curriculum for Maternal-Newborn Nursing. Mattson, S & Smith, J. (Eds). Published by the Org for obstetric, gynecological and neonatal nurses.


10 Posts

jdomep and Susy K, I love the idea of the stethoscope (Sp?) and the reference recommendations are exactly what I'm looking for.

We have a one year old, and another one on the way (due in may). We pulled her out of work so she can raise the kids. She will have lots of time to go over the stuff she already knows from college (math, some science..etc...) and look at all of the medical references. Then, she WANTS to attend fall classes however, as I said in my first post, she thinks that if we start saving now, she'll start in about 3 years.

I take the baby as soon as I get home from work, so she has free time, and I have the ability to work from home here and there (VPN!!!!). So, she'll have no problem going to classes, and studying.

Meanwhile, she can start looking over the materials now, to get a head start. She really has her heart set on L/D however, if something should happen and she suddenly falls in love with radiology, it couldn't hurt to have studied the other information. We're not rich, I bring in a modest salary, but I refuse to skimp on anything related to our current child (and future one), medical+dental, and anything related to education. When I started going back to school, I had to take History101. I not only bought what was required by the class, but also 4 other books which ran somewhere around $200. Was it a waste? No way! I learned way more than what was required of the class, and now we have great material for the kids. That is why I'm not going to be shy about spending money for books. The more she knows, the more she'll be her new career AND herself!

Keep those suggestions coming, if you think of anything. The sales have started here in Joisey! do I get the medical equipment suggested.....? hehehe


2,259 Posts

Specializes in LDRP; Education.


You can purchase stethoscopes from any scrub supplier, even online, like The books you can get from Amazon.

I would definitely recommend the Core Curriculum book. It's a must have and used by L&D nurses to sit for certifications. It's a resource she will definitely use.

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