Labor and Delivery Staff: Who'll Be in the Room With You
It’s nice to be prepared for who’ll be hanging around (and staring at your woman parts) when you’re in the delivery room. Hospitals have differing policies on what staff is present, but here’s a rundown on the basics:
• Labor and delivery nurse. As you progress through labor, a labor and delivery nurse will be your support and communication line with the practitioner that will be delivering baby. She’ll be the one to check your progression and monitor baby as you dilate. You might have the same nurse throughout labor, or there could be one or more switches in staff due to shift changes or other circumstances.
• Doctor or midwife. Once the time comes, of course, someone will be present to deliver baby. This may or may not be the practitioner that you’ve been seeing throughout your pregnancy (for example, your doctor may be on vacation or be part of a practice that rotates which doctor is on call). During pregnancy, ask your doctor or midwife who will be available to deliver baby if she can’t be present. You may be able to meet them ahead of the big day, which should help you feel more comfortable when the time comes.
• Anesthesiologist. If you’ll receive some sort of anesthetic during labor (spinal, epidural, or other meds), an anesthesiologist and/or nurse anesthetist may be present to administer the drugs.
• OB tech. Sometimes an OB Tech will come in just before delivery to assist the doctor/midwife and set up instruments that may be needed.
• Other nurses, specialists and students. Depending on the hospital and the circumstances surrounding the birth, there may be other staff present, such as a nursery nurse, neonatologist or medical student. You might also choose to have a doula present to offer support. (Hospitals rules vary on whether doulas are allowed in the room. Check with yours to find out their policies.)