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Birth Plan Basics: Chaperones During Sensitive Procedures

I have heard many women talk about their lack of modesty in labor.  The intensity of labor and birth often breaks down social and cultural norms of privacy and modesty.  It is acceptable to be less modest during birth if you feel comfortable.  You do not have to give up your modesty.  You can work with your care providers to ensure as much privacy and modesty as you need and want.

Another thing to consider is if you would like a chaperone during sensitive examinations such as cervical exams.  If your nurse or physician is male, a second care provider will commonly accompany him during the exam.  This does not always occur, but you can request a second person at any time.  You may request a chaperone no matter what the gender of your care provider.  Routinely female nurses will not seek out a chaperone. You will need to make your wishes known.  Women do not need to explain the reason they feel uncomfortable with only one provider at the exam.  Empowering women to request a chaperone is supported by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).  AWHONN’s position statement details who is an appropriate chaperone.   Factors that contribute to the decision to have a chaperone are also included.  It is up to you if your support people are present during these sensitive times.

My advice:  Read the position statement.  What are your preferences?  Discuss your feelings with your support person.  Include your preference in your birth plan.

Remember that you can change your mind and modify your birth plan at anytime.  If you did not plan on having a chaperone and during labor discover that you would like one, speak up!  If you planned on utilizing a chaperone and once you are in labor you decide that extra person is not needed, let your nurse know.  Some hospitals require a second provider to attend during sensitive exams.  If this is not acceptable to you then accommodations can be made.  For example, ask for the second person to stand behind the curtain.  Communication with your physician and nurse will be key to your experience.  Speak up, ask questions and let your preferences be known.

 

 

Happy birthing!
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10 Ways to Bring Back the Magic to Labor and Delivery 

All babies are special, but first babies have the unique gift of changing a woman and man into a mother and father.  There is something extra special when a family is welcoming their first child or grandchild. There is also something special about the first baby of the year. Nurses, all over the world, are betting on which mom will deliver the first baby of the new year.  Each hospital wants to be the first in the area to claim the New Years’s baby.  Newspapers will feature photos of the star newborn. The lucky first-of-the-year babies will be showered in gifts from hospitals and companies.

There is a lot of focus on the first baby of the year and nurses ensure that the birth is special and celebrated.  This is a fun tradition, but that feeling fades quickly as the never ending line of pregnant mothers stream in for delivery. Even the most benevolent and happy nurse can forget that every delivery is someone’s special day. Some days feel like just another ordinary day at work.  Nurses have bad days just like everyone else. The difference is that a labor nurse’s bad day can darken a family’s memory of their birth forever.

When labor nurses begin to lose sight of the magic of birth it is important to recharge, refresh and relearn what makes each birth special.

 

Here are 1o ways to bring magic back to labor and delivery:

 

1. Identify something you like about your patient. This may be difficult with some patients, but everyone has some redeeming quality. Find it.

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2. Smile. If you smile your patient will feel welcome and it can change your attitude as well.  Fake it till you make it.

 

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3. Acknowledge and speak to all the people in your patient’s room. The mama is not the only one welcoming a baby into the world.  The patient’s family is important and they will appreciate being recognized.  Also they can be recruited to help get ice, hold legs and fan the patient.  The people in the room will be the ones that will be there to support the mom at home when she is tired and needs help. Include the whole family in patient education so that they can help mom and baby transition successfully.

 

CALL THE MIDWIFE - SERIES 3 - EPISODE 8

 

4. Include the partner or coach in conversations with the patient. A mother’s support person needs to understand and give input on the patient’s plan of care. The decisions are the patients to make, but they often look to their partner or labor coach for guidance.

Including the partner in the conversations with the patient establishes trust and is an element of family centered care.

 

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5. Take lunch off the unit. This may be impossible at some hospitals.  If at all possible, leave the unit for your break. Go outside and breathe real air. Take a walk in the sunshine and absorb some vitamin D.

 

6. Use your relaxation skills to relax yourself.  You teach these techniques to patients every day, those same relaxation techniques can benefit stressed nurses!

 

7. Use your vacation days. Don’t hoard vacation days. People that take less vacation days have less job satisfaction.

 

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8. Join your professional nursing organization. Keeping up to date on new research is exciting and stimulating. Challenge yourself and continue to grow in your specialty.

 

Call the Midwife - Ep 4

 

9. Go out of your way for your patient at least once a shift. They may not thank you, but you will know that you put in extra effort to make your patient’s stay better.

 

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10. When the baby is born take a few seconds to look away from the IV pump, computer and delivery instruments. Witness a new person take his first breath. Watch as a mother holds her baby’s for the first time. Look at a father’s complete reverence and amazement at the miracle that has just occurred.

 

Doris Aston CTM

 

My New Year’s wish is for all nurses to be reenergized in 2015.

Take the time to make every delivery special for your patients.

For nurses it is just another day at work, but for each mother it’s a day that she will always remember.

 

 

 

 

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