Every day is Mother’s Day in the Labor and Delivery Unit at Abrazo West Campus, and the hospital added a new service for moms-to-be: Birth Navigators. Abrazo’s Birth Navigators are Registered Nurses serving as personal guides for the journey to motherhood.   

This week is a special time for the nurses, as May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, and Mother’s Day happens to be on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing.

The free Birth Navigator service is available to answer hospital-related questions, help parents-to-be navigate through the registration process, provide a private hospital tour, schedule prenatal classes and provide the latest information before delivery.

“Participation is entirely voluntary with no additional charge,” says Birth Navigator Dawn Holt, RN. “The one-on-one appointment is recommended between the 20th and 30th week of pregnancy but Navigators can answer questions about the hospital and delivery process at any time.” 

Expectant moms know the anticipation of the birthing experience is an exciting time that can sometimes be overwhelming. Birth Navigator Natalie Palmer, RN, knows firsthand. She’s due to deliver her second child any day now. 

“I enjoy working here and being pregnant because I feel like I have an instant connection with my patients. Being a Birth Navigator and being pregnant allows me to provide information and answer questions that maybe I have been thinking and wondering about as well. I know exactly how patients are feeling because I am going through the same thing, at the same time that they are,” says Palmer.

Abrazo’s Birth Navigators help parents-to-be: 

• Assess their personal pregnancy needs

• Get acquainted with the hospital’s prenatal services

• Provide information about breastfeeding and other healthy behaviors

• Discuss labor options and birth preferences

• Assist in selecting classes based on individual needs

• Provide a private guided tour of the hospital

• Help with pre-registration paperwork

Holt, a certified lactation counselor, adds, “The Birth Navigators at Abrazo West Campus help moms feel confident and comfortable before the big day arrives.” 

“The Birth Navigators have worksheets and checklists that help expecting couples to cover mom’s medical history, preferences during labor and delivery, what to pack for the trip to the hospital, car seat information, newborn screenings, postpartum care, education and support services and more,” explains Birth Navigator Jessica Johnson, RN, who is also a certified lactation counselor.

Parents-to-be have a lot to plan for before the big day, and every labor and delivery is unique, says Abrazo West Nursing Director Jerry Lawlor.

“Abrazo’s Birth Navigators are here to get to know you, learn your preferences and help couples plan for what to expect leading up to and during their special day,” he said. 

Lawlor adds, “As director of WIS and ICU, a military veteran and father of six, we are focusing on family-centered care.  Family can be defined in many different ways.  We will soon be rolling out a ‘Daddy Bootcamp’ which will focus on the role of the father/significant other or even grandparent in caring for this new baby – everything from changing diapers to recognizing post-partum depression.”

For more information about Birth Navigators at Abrazo West Campus, visit AbrazoHealth.com or call 623-882-1589.