Crash Review Course Needed ASAP


Hi All,

My daughter is just about due to deliver her first baby (my first granddaughter). I will be with her during her L&D. The only L&D education I had was in nursing school and I need some advice from seasoned L&D nurses. How can I help and monitor my daughter/granddaughter through this process (and help the nursing staff) while not getting in their way? I'm reviewing electronic fetal heart rate strips to help prepare, but I am trained as a surgical circulator, and now work as a triage nurse at an Air Force Base Family Practice clinic, so I am very rusty. Thank you all in advance for your advice. (P.S. - I do not plan on announcing that I am an RN - I just want to quietly be able to help, recognize, and avoid a potentially emergent situation.)

Specializes in intensive care major medical centers.

just enjoy being grandma and let the nurses do ther job and enjoy you new grandbaby


49 Posts

Thanks Scooter for your reply.

I know that is what I SHOULD do, but I am such an A Type. I just want to have the basic knowledge should a situation arise . . . I am not one that can just side idly by and watch a situation go from bad to worse without knowing what to do (mind you I said KNOWING what to do, not actually doing). I plan on being grandma, but I want to be able to speak up if I see something start to go awry. After so many years of trying to change, I've learned to accept who I am and live with it. Having said that, remember I said I will not get in the way of the staff. I am the quiet one who can usually be found in the background, but who will also not hesitate to spring into action when the situation warrants. I respect my fellow nurses. :-)

Specializes in Nurse Manager, Labor and Delivery.

Your job is to support your daughter while she is in labor. The worst thing you can do is try to interpret strips or anticipate problems when you really don't know if they are or not. Assist your daughter with breathing, with positioning and give her reassurance. That is what she needs. She needs her mom...she will already have a nurse assigned to her. You will drive yourself crazy trying to be both. It is hard to sit back and turn off the "nurse" in your, believe me, I know. Enjoy the experience with your is a blessing!!! I wish her a speedy labor and beautiful delivery. Good luck.

Doula 59

6 Posts

Dear Tucwebb,

I am not sure if this is what you wanted but I thought it couldn't hurt.

As a Doula for 22 years and now a first semester nursing student I will give you some tips to help support her emotionally, physically and educationally.

1. If not contraindicated encourage her to walk, sit in the shower, rock in a rocking chair, sit on a birthing ball, somehow remaining out of bed as much as possible. Remember gravity is her best friend. More than likely once her water brakes she will be limited to the bed.

2. Encourage diaphragmatic breathing as labor progresses. Long slow deep breathes as deep as she can beathe in and out using the diaphragm to assist with contractions. Concentrating on breathing takes the mind off of the contractions.

Remember, just deal with one contraction at a time and encourage rest in between contractions.

3. Bring a tennis ball or two for counter pressure for back pain. (Check to see if the hospital offers sterile water injections for back pain). You can also use two coke cans covered with wash cloths to facilitate a larger area.

Hand and foot rubs as well as back rubs and effleurage(light strokes) are wonderful. Bring something for her to squeeze in her hands. Encourage her to relax her body one section at a time from feet to head and back down. Pay close attention to her shoulders tensing and encourage her to relax them.

4. Once she is in bed if not contraindicated have her switch from left to right sides about every 30 minutes, helps to dilate evenly and will encourage good contractions.

If I have mentioned anything you are not sure about just ask and I will try to clarify or you can do research to see if it suits your needs.

My first grandchild had a "marked time" shoulder distocia. I just listened to what the doctor said and followed her instructions to the letter (us putting her knees almost up to her ears seems like, while another nurse applied pubic pressure) and my grandson arrived with no lasting effects due to her quick thinking and excellent skills.

Hope this was helpful and good luck! :loveya:


85 Posts

As a student nurse doing her capstone in L&D and a new mommy. I would take the advice of the previous posters. It annoyed me that my hubby was looking at my strips because i could see the look on his face when my contractions would start and peak. Best thing is to pay attention to whats going on and support the parents.


525 Posts

You may want to mention to the staff, at the start, that you are there to help, not be a hindrance. I've been fortunate to be present for the birth of all 6 of my grandchildren, including an emergency c/s. Trust me, whether you announce that you are a nurse...the staff will know!

Specializes in L&D. Has 54 years experience.

Fetal monitoring is a skill developed over time with experience. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to interpret your daughter's strip. Watching a strip come out of the machine second by second is entirely different from seeing a strip all at once in a book. The things that look the worst (variable decelerations) are the most common pattern you'll see and not the most ominous ones. Baby's hearts do not stop suddenly out of nowhere. If the monitor stops recording the baby's heart beat, it's because the baby or mom or both have moved. Just call the nurse to adjust it. Most of us prefer it if you let us do the adjusting and you don't try to do it yourself.

If your daughter is low risk, she may not even need to be on a monitor at all. Auscultation is just as effective as EFM for low risk patients.

Focus you learning on how to help your daughter cope. Doula 59 gave you some good suggestions. I'd add hands and knees to her position suggestions in bed. Not everyplace requires a patient to remain in bed once the water is broken. If possible, keep her out of bed. Even if your daughter is on the monitor, she can be in a chair or on the ball. Some places have monitors with telemetry so the patient doesn't even have to stay close to the monitor to be out of bed.

One of the hardest things in the world to do is to watch someone you love hurt. It's hard to remain objective. Keep that in mind if you get to the point where you just want someone to Do something for God's sakes.If your daughter has a significant other who will also be there, take care of him too. Spell each other for meals (she won't deliver faster or have less pain if the coaches' blood sugar is low), or just to get outside and regroup for a while.

Know that at some point in labor (transition, maybe before,maybe never), she'll no longer tell you if what you're doing is helpful or feels good. Her focus is on dealing with what's going on and she just won't have the energy to make you feel good about your help. If she says nothing keep doing it because she will tell you if she doesn't like it. If her lips look dry, tell her you're going to put on some Chap Stix. She'll let you or say no. Hold the straw or spoonfull of ice to her mouth and she'll either take it or bat it away. If she's sweaty, put a cold cloth on her forehead or the back of her neck.

This is how you can be most helpful to your daughter and to the nursing staff. Be a good coach and support.


74 Posts

Has 15 years experience.

i agree with nurse nora. a crash review course on fetal monitoring is not gonna do it for you. it's something learned over time with experience, not by reading a textbook. don't even try to interpret it, just be there to support her. one main thing that my patient's support people often do that drives me crazy and is also not helpful to the patient, is that they watch the monitor and tell her when a contraction is beginning. dont tell her!! it may be one of those nice contractions that she doesn't even feel, and let her enjoy that 'ignorance is bliss' feeling without being told she's having a contraction and then immediately tensing up. just be a great support and let her be the boss... this is her labor experience and do whatever she asks. she may say things that hurt your feelings or make you cry (like my patient did to her mother last week), and just remember that it's labor and her hormones are going crazy, dont take anything personal. =)

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