Get to Know Your Labor and Delivery Team
When you come to South Shore Hospital to have your baby, there are a variety of people who will play an important role in your labor and delivery. If it is your first baby, the entire process, including the many different people you meet, can be overwhelming to say the least. You may feel vulnerable and anxious, putting a great deal of trust in people you’ve never met.
I am here to alleviate a bit of that fear by clarifying the roles of the different providers.
The nurses at South Shore Hospital are a very talented bunch of people. I was a nurse for 10 years before becoming a midwife, working in a variety of settings, states, and specialties.
The nurses on the Birthing Unit at South Shore Hospital are hands down the most devoted, intelligent, hard-working nurses I have had the pleasure of working with.
They are often the first people you meet, taking a history while simultaneously examining you. You may see a nurse in triage when you first come in for a labor evaluation, or for a pregnancy-related illness or concern. When it’s time to welcome your baby and you are admitted in labor, you will always have a nurse assigned to you.
As you progress through your labor, the nurse will be at your bedside much of the time, offering you labor support, comfort measures, and suggestions for nonpharmacological pain relief techniques. Your nurse will monitor the baby, help to reposition you, assess your well-being and communicate with the doctors and midwives to ensure you are receiving safe and appropriate care.
Nurses also accompany their patients to the operating room for cesarean sections, and stay with you the first few hours while you recover from surgery. A new set of nurses will care for you once your baby is born and you move to the postpartum floor for the remainder of your stay.
It’s safe to say, nurses are your friends. They’re everybody’s friends.
We have a large group of midwives at South Shore Hospital who are all Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs). This means that we all received our Bachelor’s Degree, became Registered Nurses, and then completed additional education to obtain a Master’s Degree in science with a focus in Midwifery. We have two midwives on the birthing unit at all times, as the number of women in our community that desire midwifery care is always growing!
Midwives work closely with all the players in your labor and delivery team in order to provide safe, timely, and compassionate care for you and your family.
We are all hired by South Shore Hospital, some working only on the Birthing Unit, others spending one to two days each week in one of the offices to provide prenatal care. This means that you can opt to see a midwife for preconception, prenatal, postpartum, menopausal, or gynecological care during any point in your life, pregnant or not. Some offices do not have midwives in their practice, but no matter who you see for your visits, if you have a low-risk pregnancy you can ask for midwives to care for you during your labor and birth at South Shore Hospital.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy that requires the care of an OB/GYN, talk to your doctor about the possibility of a midwife helping to co-manage your care. For some high-risk moms, there may be opportunities for a midwife to handle some aspects of care, such as prenatal care. But each high-risk pregnancy is unique, so co-management should be addressed on a case-by-case basis with your care team.
You may also encounter midwives in triage for labor evaluations or pregnancy-related concerns. Many of the midwives are certified to first assist in the operating room during cesarean sections. This means that a midwife may help the doctors to surgically deliver your baby.
There are four different practices that provide care for their patients at South Shore Hospital, including The Women’s Center of South Shore Medical Center, Crown OB/GYN, South Shore Women’s Health, and South Shore Hanover OB/GYN. Each practice has coverage on site at South Shore Hospital at all times.
In addition, there are OB specialists from Maternal Fetal Medicine available 24/7 should you require high-risk consultation. This means that if you prefer care from an OB/GYN, have a high-risk pregnancy, require surgical intervention, or develop medical concerns during your labor/delivery, you will see a physician to manage your care.
The anesthesia team consists of both a physician and a nurse anesthetist. These are the providers you will see if you choose to have an epidural during your labor. They also play an integral role during surgery, should your baby need to be born by cesarean. They will manage your pain and monitor to ensure that you remain safe and stable throughout surgery.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
We are fortunate to have Southeastern Massachusetts’ only Level III NICU to support the special needs of newborns and their families, right at South Shore Hospital. The NICU team attends unscheduled cesarean sections, high-risk vaginal deliveries, and are always available to assess, monitor, and provide emergency care if the need arises during any birth or thereafter.
These are some of the providers you will likely encounter during your stay at South Shore Hospital. We have a very team-oriented approach to patient care, always working together and striving to help put you and your family at ease during such an extraordinary time.