The stages of pregnancy, labor, and birth have always required the external assistance of midwives. These professionals – nearly all women – made newborns’ arrival in the world more secure. They also helped mothers stay healthy during childbirth and took care of the babies for some weeks. Now this occupation has transformed, and we have labor & delivery nurses to assist pregnant women. Let’s discuss the role of these nurses in the healthcare industry.
NEONATAL VS. PERINATAL NURSING
You might’ve heard of CNMs (certified nurse-midwives) who manage labor, deliver babies, and monitor the couplet post-childbirth. Let’s differentiate between two variant types of RNs who help pregnant women before, during, and after labor. The word ‘natal’ refers to someone’s birth. Perinatal nurses assist women before and during childbirth. After the baby has been born, neonatal nurses replace their predecessors and take care of the newborn for 28 days. The word ‘neonatal’ means the first four weeks of a newborn’s life on earth. Hence the name of nurses observing the child! The words’ antepartum’ and ‘postpartum’ also differ between pre-birth and post-birth periods.
- PERINATAL NURSES:
Prenatal healthcare focuses on assisting the mother-to-be before and immediately after childbirth. You can also label prenatal nurses as labor & delivery nurses or OB (obstetric) nurses. Some even use the term LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum) for this profession combined with neonatal nursing. This nurse will take care of the fetus and give her/his client necessary advice regarding pregnancy complications and labor difficulties. How to become a perinatal nurse? Well, it requires an MSN degree and then additional post-master certifications. Antenatal nurses can become CNMs but with extra training and education. Then what happens after the child has been born?
- NEONATAL NURSES:
As explained above, neonatal nurses take charge after the CNM’s task is done. What’s the importance of the neonatal period for a child? Most childhood deaths occur during the first 28 days of birth. So, a newborn requires the utmost care and attention in these four weeks. The education requirements are as severe as the prenatal ones. Again, an MSN degree is mandatory to pursue Online Post-Master’s Nursing certificates in NICU. This profession can also be known as maternity or postnatal nursing. But the job responsibilities of a post-childbirth healthcare professional are more tiresome. Since now, you have two patients to take care of, i.e., the newcomers to motherhood and society, respectively.
BENEFITS OF THE NURSING PROFESSION
A perinatal nurse performs a full physical examination of her/his client to check for any pre-existing medical condition. The nurse will make sure that the gestating mother is healthy enough to deliver the baby. Another responsibility of a labor nurse is to determine the fetus’s estimated due date. Conversely, a postnatal nurse helps the parents hold, feed, and wash their baby for the first time. The nurse checks the newborn’s vital signs. Some children are born prematurely or develop other signs of illness that only a doctor can understand. Some babies have to visit the NICU. Remember that not all neonatal nurses work there. However, they make sure that the infant lives to see his/her youth.
It’s a blessing to receive an invitation to a person’s graduation ceremony whom you delivered as a baby!
Let’s talk about the average salaries associated with these careers. Private independent platforms estimate that neonatal nurses make $60-80 thousand on average every year. On the other hand, prenatal nurses can earn $83-108 thousand annually. The United Nations believes that the human population is increasing exponentially. It’s 7.8 billion now and will exceed 9 billion in three decades. Nurses can find more suitable employment in government-owned institutes or private hospitals in upcoming years. Last year’s pandemic refreshed the custom of digital education. So, practicing nurses can receive online certifications now by learning from home.
No wonder modern technology has significantly decreased the infant mortality rate in the 21st century. Newborn babies are 170 times more likely to survive in developed countries. Healthcare professionals ensure that expecting women recognize health problems that might arise before/after pregnancy. Nurses help women learn and implement healthy practices throughout pregnancy and post-childbirth. Considering the importance of this practice, RNs seem to have a bright future ahead as professionals.