Oftentimes patients are unsure of what to expect when labor starts. They may decide to try and prepare for the unknown by touring the unit, taking a childbirth class, reading pregnancy and childbirth books, studying birthing options on the internet and writing up a birth plan – all of these are excellent ways to prepare. Some patients know nothing more than they want an epidural or they’re planning on “going natural.” Regardless of preparation, sometimes it’s still a mystery what will happen when you are actually admitted to the hospital. This is when the bedside labor nurse can be a vital resource.
In Labor & Delivery, we strive to help our patients and their families feel comfortable and stay informed throughout, but undeniably our most important goal is to provide the best possible care, utilizing best practice. We are currently working very diligently to reduce our C-section rate.
Several factors come into play when taking a look at the reason for successful vaginal delivery. Delaying admission to the hospital until labor has begun (progressively dilating cervix over 4-5cm and contractions at regular intervals) may significantly increase the laboring woman’s possibility for vaginal delivery. However, there are occasions when a patient may need to be admitted before labor starts. In this case, studies show that having bedside labor support during early labor is incredibly important. At Overlake, we are making strides in improving our bedside care and support – educating staff, seeking out pertinent research, and auditing our own patient records to see what’s working in alignment with our goals and areas for improvement.
Recently, we added a Comfort Care a la Carte menu for patients – a complimentary assortment of “tools” that can be used to get through those tough hours of labor. These tools have been found to significantly improve patient experience, especially for those planning on an epidural, but aren’t quite ready for it. We’ve found that something so small, like a headband to keep your hair back or tea light candles for an ambient setting, can make a world of difference. These items also give the patient and their birth partner a chance to connect. We’ve had excellent feedback from our patients who’ve taken advantage of our Comfort Care menu. Sometimes it’s the little things that count.