75 Things I’ve Learned in Labor and Delivery


These are some of the things I’ve learned as a labor and delivery nurse, but the list could seriously go on and on. I can’t wait to see what I write about in another 5 years 🙂

I got inspired to write this after coming across an article entitled 100 Things I’ve Learned in 100 Births by Tiffany Miller, Student Midwife, CCCE, CAPPA.  Reading that article made me think about what I’ve learned about labor and delivery. What I unquestionably know is that we have so much work to do.  There are so many more things we could and should and must do for our patients and their families. But we do amazing work, we have seen amazing things, and we work with incredible people. One of the most important things I’ve learned early in my career is that we all need to work together.  The passion for our profession should unite us and drive us forward.

  1. Women are stronger than they know.
  2. Birth is beautiful.
  3. We witness birth. If we deliver a baby, we could have done something better or something could have gone better at some point along the way, somewhere.
  4. We do not fully understand the impact of cesarean deliveries, to women or to babies.
  5. Labor pain is basically the same for everyone, it’s all about how that pain is managed.
  6. Babies make everyone emotional.
  7. Family at the bedside are important.
  8. If family isn’t at the bedside, that is also important.
  9. It’s all about perception.
  10. Labor and delivery isn’t all bubble gum and butterflies.
  11. Doulas, midwives, physicians, nurses and techs all have value.
  12. Women shouldn’t feel as if they lose their voice because they choose to deliver in a hospital.
  13. Some women should deliver at home.
  14. Some women should not.
  15. Very few people know anything about labor and delivery.
  16. It’s not all about the baby.
  17. But a baby is a life, regardless if it ever took a breath after delivery.
  18. Every day I love going to work.
  19. Every day I come home tired.
  20. Most women are afraid of birth, even if they don’t show it.
  21. It’s amazing that more things don’t go wrong during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
  22. If you have to resuscitate a baby after delivery, your heart will beat so fast and you will pray so hard.
  23. A baby’s head hanging out of a vagina from a shoulder dystocia is one of the most frightening.things.ever.
  24. Sometimes no matter what we do, the outcome will be bad.
  25. Sometimes no matter what we do, the outcome will be good.
  26. There is no such thing as eating for two.
  27. Practically everyone should be following a diabetic diet.
  28. There are so many things that aren’t mandated to be reportable, but should be.
  29. A doula, a midwife, and a nurse can form a bond with a patient in a very short amount of time.
  30. We should be asking the support people at the bedside to help us, so they know what to do after discharge.
  31. Women are given so much conflicting information about breastfeeding.
  32. Women should think about what they want their birth experience to look like before they get pregnant.
  33. If they don’t, they should talk about what they want their birth experience to look like as early in their pregnancy as possible.
  34. No matter how much experience you have, or how educated you are, you will eventually make a mistake.
  35. I hope it’s not a mistake that will hurt someone.
  36. Doctors cry. Midwives cry. We all cry. We’re human.
  37. We aren’t afraid of meconium, but we are all afraid of meconium aspiration.
  38. If you work at the bedside, you will eventually break yourself in some way.
  39. There’s a reason why so many of us are overweight and have high blood pressure.
  40. We chose to work instead of staying home because we know our patients need us.
  41. We have to start talking about the work that we do.
  42. We do a lot of really good work.
  43. There are unacceptable disparities in maternal-child nursing.
  44. There’s so many things we could do better.
  45. We have to find ways to educate everyone prior to delivery.
  46. Especially about breastfeeding.
  47. Formula feeding isn’t bad, it’s just not healthier.
  48. Employee satisfaction is just as important as patient satisfaction.
  49. And patient satisfaction is important.
  50. Expressing breast milk is hard work.
  51. Women should be given more choice and more education.
  52. Women expect everyone around them to guide them correctly. We must guide them better.
  53. Physicians and midwives don’t do this for the money.
  54. And neither do nurses. It really is a calling.
  55. We remember every single bad outcome.
  56. No one expects to not hear a heartbeat.
  57. Prenatal vitamins should be free.
  58. We have so much to learn on perinatal mood disorders.
  59. How our bodies react to pregnancy tells us how our bodies may react later in life.
  60. Professional organizations are so crucial.
  61. Nurse:Patient ratios are crucial.
  62. Family dynamics are complicated and beautiful.
  63. The NICU is like an alternate universe.
  64. Thank God for nursery and NICU nurses.
  65. We have a pretty sick sense of humor.  But if we didn’t laugh, we’d cry.
  66. Our families all suffer.
  67. Every week more is expected of us, which is fine, but then refer to #61.
  68. We are all doing the best we can.
  69. Women are beautiful.
  70. Healthcare workers work hard.
  71. We don’t take care of ourselves as well as we take care of our patients.
  72. We must be kind to each other.
  73. Management and leadership are two different things.
  74. Our work is Godly.
  75. We still have so much to learn.


Until my next delivery ❤

Categories: Random

16 replies

  1. This is one of my favorite posts.


  2. I’m really loving your blog. What a wonderful job you do! Thanks for sharing it from your side. So fascinating x


  3. There are angels among us: nurses and midwives who help women in their most vulnerable, yet powerful, moments of life. Thank you for the work you do.


  4. I love it thank you for sharing. As a previous manager for labor & birth would love for staff to complete a list like this for their annual evaluation just as an activity to have staff reflect on what they do and why they do. 👍🏻


  5. Oh my gosh, I absolutely LOVE your list! I found myself nodding and sniffling as I read. When I worked as a doula, I met countless L&D nurses–and you are such a special breed of nurse! You’re amazing. And I thank you for what you do, for who you are, and for your giant hearts! I could never work L&D the way you do.

    Thank you so much for linking back to my post — nearly everything on your list is something I could add to mine. Birth professionals have so much more in common than we realize, I think.

    Love and blessings!


  6. I delivered five babies, each labor was different. Some labors hurt more than others and in different ways. So I disagree with #5. I was an L&D nurse for 25 years, a WHNP for 17 years, and I definitely learned about many varieties of pain. We can never judge the pain or management of others, we can only listen, learn, and try to help. And, some of us suffer from PTSD. We have seen, heard, smelled and touched things no one else does willingly. We are chronically and viciously abused by our institutions and patients and/or family, and each other. We all have to learn how to take care of ourselves in order to be helpful to others. Your blog is very helpful for letting everyone see the nature of those of us that are “called” to our work, profoundly caring, nurturing, eager to learn and share, totally human and fallible, moral and philosophical, frivolous and serious. It is not a coincidence that the word “nurse” has two main meanings. We are part of the perennial spectrum of the human female–Maiden, Mother/Midwife, Crone.


    • ❤ I meant that pain is pain. Everyone thinks that their pain is the worst pain imaginable. I think fear and the unknowing play a large part of that. But if you only disagreed with 1 out of 75 that's not too bad! lol


    • like I think you had pain. But you handled the pain differently with each birth. When I take care of some women, especially first-time moms, they think that NO ONE could ever have pain like THIS. But unless the baby is in a super funky position or your uterus is rupturing, it’s kind of the same kind of pain. We handle is all so differently. It’s amazing to see how women manage that pain. Thank you for reading my blog. –another mother/l&d nurse/wife/writer. lol


  7. As an L&D nurse, this is a wonderful list. I especially agree with “There are unacceptable disparities in maternal-child nursing.” Having worked in the States, Toronto, and rural Canada, the differences in practice and standards of care are insane.


  8. This. Nails. It. Especially 21, 24/25, 45/46 & 73. Love your work.

    Liked by 1 person

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