Nurses Who Work with Babies

Nurses are needed in various areas of medicine and most prefer to work in one that they enjoy. Considering no one can walk by the labor and delivery unit without trying to take a peek into the nursery, working with babies, or those about to have them, is a popular area to specialize in.

Neonatal nurses specialize in caring for newborn infants from the moment they are born to 28 days later. These types of nurses can choose to work on three different levels. Level I nurses care for healthy newborns, working in the healthy newborn nursery where infants are often only required to stay a few days. Level II nurses care for sick or premature newborns, working in a special care nursery where babies may need specialized feedings, intravenous therapy, or supplemental oxygen. Level III nurses care for the newborns that do not fall under the other levels, working in the neonatal intensive care unit where babies may be too small for their age and need critical treatment or surgery. These infants may also need high technology to survive, such as special equipment, incubators, or ventilators.

Labor and delivery nurses specialize in caring for pregnant women and their babies during the stages of antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum, and neonatal. These types of nurses assist during the birthing process and ensure that both mother and baby receive the proper medical care and support needed for a healthy delivery. When women experience complications during pregnancy and are required to stay in the hospital, labor and delivery nurses provide care to both mother and child until they are released to go home. It is their job to monitor new mothers, educate them about childcare, and help them create an individualized plan to care for their newborn.

Nurse-midwives specialize in nursing and midwifery and provide comprehensive care to women with an emphasis on gynecological and obstetrical services. As primary care providers, they can provide women with reproductive health services and contraceptive counseling. They also conduct gynecological examinations such as infection checks, breast examinations, STD testing, and pap smears. Trained in obstetrics, they help women to stay healthy during pregnancy and provide education and support about having a natural birth experience. Nurse-midwives can give women more individualized care than obstetricians, by educating them about and helping them adapt to the physical and emotional changes that pregnancy brings. They also provide women with support after pregnancy, assisting them with the care of their newborns for up to six weeks.

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