Postpartum Nursing Care Plan for Mothers
The first hours after birth are a delicate time for the newborn and mothers. Even more so for first time moms. As such, nurses who assist on this very special moment usually follow a protocol known as the postpartum nursing care plan, postpartum nursing diagnosis or also labor care plan.
Our focus will be on this period, commonly referred to as the third and fourth stages of labor. It is focused on providing immediate care for the newborn in the adjustment to extrauterine life, assisting with the delivery of the placenta, monitoring and assisting the mother with the physiological adjustments of labor and birth, and facilitating the attachment between the mother and baby.
Characteristics of the Third Stage of Labor
The third stage of labor begins with the birth of the infant and ends with the delivery of the placenta. Usually takes 5–10 minutes, and may take up to 30 minutes. These are the main characteristics:
- Uterus becomes globelike.
- Uterus rises upward.
- Umbilical cord descends further.
- Gush of blood as placenta detaches.
- Some discomfort or cramping as the placenta is expelled.
Nursing Care of the Mother During the Third Stage of Labor
After the birth of the infant, the nurse checks if the placenta has separated from the wall of the uterus. She may after examination ask the woman to push again, to facilitate in the delivery of the placenta.
Characteristics of the Fourth Stage of Labor
These are the main characteristics of the fourth stage of labor:
- It is a time of physiological adaptation that begins following delivery of the placenta that lasts 1 to 2 hours.
- The uterus should be firmly contracted.
- Lochia rubra, bright red blood flow with occasional small clots.
- Vital signs return to prelabor values.
- It is common to experience perineal discomfort usually related to trauma from the episiotomy or tearing, or hemorrhoids.
Nursing Care of the Mother During the Fourth Stage of Labor
While the physician examines the mother’s perineum, cervix, and vagina for evidence of tears, the nurse assesses the uterus for firmness, height, and position. To perform fundal palpation, the left hand is placed directly above the symphysis pubis and gentle downward pressure is exerted. The right hand is cupped around the uterine fundus. On palpation, the uterus is expected to feel firm and be positioned in the midline, at or just below the umbilicus.
8 Steps Concise Postpartum Nursing Care Plan
To assist new mothers and their partners during their initial transition to parenting
- Breasts and Legs Care
Assess every four hours in the first twenty-four hours
Then assess every 8 hours thereafter until discharge
- Perineal Care
Pouring a stream of water over the vulva and perineum after voiding or defecation
Wiping from front to back after voiding or defecation
- Preventing Excessive Bleeding
- Prevent Bladder Distention
- Avoid Infection
- Providing Pain Relief
Support the patient with nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic relief of discomfort associated with the episiotomy, lacerations, or breastfeeding
- Lactation Measures
Instituting measures to promote or suppress lactation.
These are the most important nursing care plan aspects healthcare professionals observe in the postpartum period. Mothers can rely on nurse’s well-developed assessment skills to recognize the normal progression of labor, to identify potential risks to the patient and fetus, and to identify how and when to intervene and consult with doctors and other health care providers.3 Sources
Pain Relief Help uses the most up-to-date and reliable sources for our articles, but its content should be used as informational only. All the information provided doesn’t replace a medical consultation, which is always your best choice of action.