In recent years, nurse-midwifery has experienced a significant boom in popularity, but whether new mothers choose a midwife or a conventional OBGYN, the postpartum nurse is a critical part of the process. So what is postpartum nursing?
What Is Postpartum Nursing?
Postpartum nursing involves caring for women who have just given birth. New mothers who have never given birth before will have many questions concerning how to care for themselves. This may involve caring for episiotomy incisions, C-section wounds, hemorrhoids, learning how to properly nurse their baby, and many other conditions they may experience that are the direct result of birthing a child. Women have already had other children may not have any issues at all, while others may have health conditions that must be closely monitored after childbirth.
Postpartum nursing may also involve talking with the mother about her responsibilities as well as the possibility of postpartum depression and other mental and emotional factors they may experience. The postpartum nurse can also help new mothers work through the bonding process using techniques such as kangarooing and skin to skin contact immediately after birth. The primary job of a postpartum nurse is to ensure the new mother is properly cared for in every way and to make sure that she is physically, mentally, and emotionally ready to leave the hospital with her newborn child.
What Is Involved in Postpartum Nursing Care Plans?
Nurses are involved in both creating and implementing postpartum care plans for new mothers. In many cases, postpartum care plans are created prior to the birth of the child and then adjusted, if necessary, after the child is born. Any health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes must be taken into account when creating a postpartum care plan. Postpartum nurses may begin working with the new mother as early as the third trimester to ensure that all of the steps in the birthing plan are complete by the due date.
Once the birth has taken place, the postpartum nurse will go over every step of the postpartum care plan and show the new mother how to care for any wounds she may have. She will be taught how to care for herself during the nursing/breastfeeding process. The postpartum nurse will be able to answer any questions the new mother may have as well as help her in identifying any signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. A postpartum nurse may work with the new mother for several weeks after the birth of her child to ensure that things continue to go smoothly.
How Much Does a Postpartum Nurse Make in a Year?
The range of pay for a postpartum nurse is quite wide with the lowest average coming it at around $45,000. Postpartum nurses who have high degrees and several years of experience can earn as much as $135,000 a year on average. While this gap is extremely wide, the graduate must take into account the location of the position, the facility in which the position is being offered, the number of years the nurse has been working in the field, and the type of degrees and certifications they possess. Many postpartum nurses have worked in other capacities prior to taking a position specializing in aftercare.
Postpartum nurses who are just entering the workforce may choose to work in other positions within the OB/GYN field to get better insight into what the mothers go through before, during, and after giving birth. The more hands-on experience they gain by working in these areas, the more pay they will be offered when they finally transition into the postpartum nurse position they want to earn.
How Do I Become a Postpartum Nurse?
Becoming a postpartum nurse involves earning a Nursing degree. Once a graduate has earned their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, the next step is passing their state board exam and receiving their license to practice. Most nursing students are asked if they want to choose a specific specialization. This can include geriatric care, pediatric care, general practice, OB/GYN, or postpartum care, just to name a few. If they choose a specialization at the beginning of their education, they can gradually add classes that will allow them to achieve their ultimate goal once they earn their degree.
Students who are unsure about what direction they want to take after graduation may choose to work in several areas before making a final decision. If the nurse chooses to pursue a career in postpartum care, they can return to school and pursue an additional degree program or they may be able to take a certification course and receive the credentials they need to work as an aftercare or postpartum specialist. The years of experience they have accumulated can be included on their resume for additional credibility.