by, Jennifer Doyle, MSN, WHNP-BC
Director, AWHONN Executive Board
APN, Women’s Service Line
Akron City Hospital
Photo: Jennifer Doyle assessing and caring for fellow colleague Amy Burkett, MD, FACOG.
Somewhere in a Labor and Delivery unit, a woman gives birth. A family is born. A nurse remains at the bedside. A sentinel, who assesses, plans, and intervenes. The nurse is equipped with knowledge and skills to holistically care for mom and baby. The nurse’s primary focus is to promote bonding and breastfeeding. However, despite a safe birth, risk remains. Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. It is often preventable.
As a labor and delivery staff nurse, there were countless occasions when I held vigil at the side of my patients after they gave birth. I was prepared with an array of resources to treat PPH. In part, this included uterine massage, oxytocin, methylergometrine, carboprost, and misoprostol. As a nurse caring for a woman in the immediate postpartum period, my goal was to assess maternal bleeding and avoid PPH, or treat early if it occurred. I would often stand at the bedside, pondering how much oxytocin I should administer to this new mother, and for how long. Continue reading