Working as a postpartum nurse

July 9, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Students carrying out some vital checks on the new borns in obstetrics and gynaecology. The postpartum unit of a hospital is the area where babies and new moms recover after birth. Although the length of stay can vary depending on the type of delivery and complications, most women with uncomplicated deliveries go home within a few days. During their time in the hospital, postpartum nurses care for both baby and mom.

What is involved?

Nurses in postpartum perform a lot of assessments on new moms to make sure they are healing and recovering properly after giving birth. This may involve checking cesarean incisions or monitoring vital signs. Nurses also remove catheters, which may have been placed during a C-section, or change dressings. They also give pain medication and antibiotics as needed. In addition to caring for the mother, postpartum nurses also monitor babies to make sure they are healthy.

Besides monitoring the recovery and health of mom and baby, postpartum nurses often provide education. Caring for a brand new little person can be a bit overwhelming, especially for new parents who do not have any experience with babies. Postpartum nurses may instruct new parents on all aspects of taking care of their baby. For example, nurses may teach new moms how to breastfeed, burp or bathe their new baby. 


Nurses who work in the postpartum unit need to graduate from a registered nursing program. After graduation, in order to get licensed to work as a registered nurse, the National Council Licensure Exam needs to be passed.

Hospital policies vary on whether they hire new grads without any nursing experience. Some healthcare facilities may require nurses have a year or two nursing experience in a general floor area, such as the medical floor. Other facilities may hire and train a new nurse right out of school.

Traits needed

Postpartum nurses are attending to both the physical and emotional health of a new mom. Nurses need to be patient and understanding. It is important to have empathy and realize some new moms will need a great deal of support as they transition into parenting. Being pregnant and giving birth can go smoothly for many women, but can be a challenging time for others. Nurses working in post

partum should be non-judgmental and compassionate.

Working conditions  

Depending on the size of the hospital you are working in, postpartum nurses may only provide care for a woman after she has delivered her baby. In smaller hospitals, the job of a labor and delivery nurse may be combined with a postpartum nurse. 

Since women give birth at all hours, postpartum nurses may work any shift. Most jobs can be found in hospitals or birthing centers. Although emergencies do happen during the postpartum period, they are not as common as in other areas of the hospital, such as the emergency room. If you crave excitement, the postpartum unit may not be the best place. But if you are looking for an area of nursing where you get to spend time working with patients who are recovering from childbirth instead of an illness, postpartum nursing may be an excellent choice.