8 Things Labor and Delivery Nurses Want You to Know About Birth

By Chaunie Brusie, R.N.
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
January 27, 2023

I spent many years on the labor and delivery floor of my local hospital, and although working the night shift wasn’t always my idea of fun, being a labor and delivery nurse was a dream come true. I loved the thrill of a patient stepping off the elevator, never knowing by their face whether they would be in full-blown labor (you can’t always tell from the look of someone) or whether we were just starting the journey. I loved watching their transformation from person to parent.

I also know from those years that parents-to-be tend to be anxious, and understandably so. From worrying about pooping on the delivery table to not knowing your threshold for discomfort, it can be hard to know what to expect. To help clear up a few misconceptions and give you the lay of the land, we asked real labor and delivery nurses to share their best tips for the big day.

1. Birth Is Unpredictable

Liesel Teen, a registered nurse from Raleigh, North Carolina, says, “I meet so many women who come in with very rigid birth plans and limited willingness to deviate from that plan. Birth plans are great and something I highly recommend. But it is important for you to look at a birth plan more as birth wishes.”