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Tips from a Labor and Delivery Nurse

When you deliver at BayCare, you'll always have the expertise of a labor and delivery registered nurse (RN) by your side. In this podcast, Terri Blanyar, RN will share her tips for a successful labor and delivery experience. Learn more about BayCare's maternity services
Tips from a Labor and Delivery Nurse
Featured Speaker:
Terri Blanyar, RN
Terri Blanyar is a Labor & Delivery Nurse, a certified Childbirth Educator, wife, mother and grandmother. She has nearly 15 years’ experience as a registered nurse. As a nurse, Ms. Blanyar is able to float between the Mother/Baby unit and Labor & Delivery, this is something she chooses to do because in addition to helping women navigate through labor and the birth of their babies, she also enjoys caring for and educating her patients about breastfeeding, newborn and postpartum care. A good day to Ms. Blanyar is one where she leaves at the end of the day with the families she cared for feeling more knowledgeable and confident than when they arrived.

Deborah Howell (Host): Welcome to BayCare HealthChat. I'm Deborah Howell, and I invite you to listen as we talk about all things surrounding labor and baby care. Today we'll find out some tips from a labor and delivery nurse. I'm joined today by Terri Blanyar, a Labor and Delivery Nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North part of the BayCare Health System. Welcome, Terri.

Terri Blanyar, RN (Guest): Hi, glad to be here, Deborah.

Host: Wonderful to have you. Let's jump right in, shall we? How important is relaxation during labor and as a new parent?

Terri: Well, actually, it's probably the most important thing. When you're in labor, if you are able to relax, it actually will decrease the perception of pain. It also allows the uterus to do its important work, which can, believe it or not shorten labor. As a new parent, when mom is tense, the newborn will sense this and maybe won't latch when it's time to breastfeed. Relaxation will also help with milk let-down. Remaining or becoming calm will also make it easier to calm a crying newborn. Newborns are very intuitive and if mommy's stressed, they sense this and they'll continue crying and then mom gets more stressed and baby cries more. And it's just this kind of vicious cycle. So, if you are able to relax, take a breather, it will be easier to calm your baby.

Host: And just for anyone who might not know, what is milk let-down?

Terri: Good question. When your breast milk first comes in, in order for it to get to the baby, the body actually will release the milk. So, when a new mom is relaxed, especially let's say they've returned to work and they're starting to need to pump their milk supply; listening to a video recording of their baby or looking at their baby's picture will allow the hormones to kick in that cause the milk to come down. And that's just the let-down, the milk actually coming down from the milk ducts to exit the breast.

Host: Got it. Thanks for that. How important is movement during labor?

Terri: It is also. So relaxation, number one. Movement, however, very crucial. Long before modern medicine, women would move throughout labor and the baby could navigate its way through the birth canal. But now we have a lot of modern conveniences, especially the epidural, which helps laboring women to be very comfortable. But we need to also be able to move them and change their position.

So, if they are without any medication, dancing, swaying, moving about the room, very, very important. If they opt for intervention, perfectly fine. And then their labor nurse will help to move them by turning them from one side to the other, perhaps using tools that we have such as the peanut ball to open the birth canal, to open the pelvis, to help the baby to navigate its way through.

Host: It takes a village sometimes. Right?

Terri: You have no idea.

Host: Do you have to wait until the umbilical cord falls off in order to bathe your baby?

Terri: This is another, old thing that we used to do way back when. We always told parents, you cannot get that cord wet. Well, even with a sponge bath, the cord still gets wet. Actually putting your baby in a submersion bath or in a little tub is more relaxing for both the parents and the baby. So, even when they're first born now, we're doing submersion tub baths in the hospital to help keep them calm. It keeps their blood sugar down. It keeps their respirations down and then you just dry the cord really well after the bath. So, it works well for everyone.

Host: Perfect. That does sound much better. Okay. True or false. Terri, is it impossible to spoil a newborn?

Terri: That is true. It is impossible, impossible, impossible to spoil a newborn. I don't care what grandma says. Attending to your baby's needs, even if that need is to be held, simply instills trust. Think about it, before baby was born, they were almost continually rocked in the womb and now we expect to cut the cord, lie them in a crib, and they're going to be happy being still. Well, that's not always the case. They might need to be eased into this behavior. So, attending to those cries each time the baby does so, is only going to let them know you're here for them.

Host: Sounds reasonable to me. What can a mom do to help herself during this critical time?

Terri: Probably one of the most important things is the power nap. Learning how to take a good power nap is crucial. When baby is sleeping, mom should be trying to sleep as well. Because when baby's awake, you have to be awake to attend to those needs, no matter what time of day it is. And you may not be able to stretch many hours together. So, if you can try to get a 30 minute to an hour power nap several times a day, it is extremely beneficial.

Host: You don't have any tips on that do you? I can never power nap during the day.

Terri: You know, it's so funny. I start training parents in labor actually, because I come in and position change them every 30 minutes. I'm like, okay, time for a 30-minute power nap. And we start practicing that. And actually they learn how to do it. I think exhaustion helps. I hate to say it.

Host: Okay, well, I'll work on the exhaustion part. Listen, breastfeeding isn't always easy is it?

Terri: You know, it's not. It's so wonderful. And the payoff is great, but there is work involved and not every new mom knows this. They assume that every baby is just going to automatically know what to do. And they don't always know what to do instinctively. Now I'm probably going to get attacked for that, because if we leave them alone, yes they will.

But most of them are born perhaps in a hospital setting. And so there are things going on. So, trying to get mom to relax and baby to relax and helping her to know what positions to put baby in. Know when the baby is actually queuing or showing signs that they're ready to eat. These are all things that are very important and letting them know that this is the number one thing to do, especially during the first hour. That's all we're going to be concentrating on maybe two hours. I will say the one benefit we've had from COVID for new parents, because we haven't been allowed visitors; they've actually been able to spend more time getting to know what their baby needs.

Host: Do you have any classes that you offer or what are you doing during this COVID time?

Terri: We do! We actually have a series of classes available on for expectant and new parents, free of charge – Understanding Birth, Understanding Your Newborn and Understanding Breastfeeding. We also offer a variety of podcasts on childbirth and newborn care. These can be found on as well as Virtual maternity tours of all our facilities are available as well.

Host: Got it. But at the end of the day, every day, you leave families you care for feeling more knowledgeable and more confident than when they arrived. Is that the goal?

Terri: That is absolutely our goal. I probably spend of my 12 hour a day, at least eight hours of it educating on different things.

Host: And are there aftercare programs? Or what does a woman do when she's just throwing her hands up and goes, I don't know what to do at this point?

Terri: She can call the hospital where she gave birth and speak to a nurse. We are available 24/7. She can call us if she has any questions. There is no such thing as a silly question. If it's important to her, it's important to us.

Host: Are families involved in your care as well?

Terri: Families are definitely involved. Everyone has at least one support person. And so when we are talking with our laboring mom or our new mom, we're also talking to whoever they have there. FaceTime has become kind of important now as well. So, they'll often have perhaps a grandmother or a sister or a friend on FaceTime if they're wanting someone else to listen to what we're telling them. And that's been helpful.

Host: I love that. Okay. What's the best part about your job, Terri?

Terri: Oh, my gosh. Okay, the best part about my job is just being almost like a fly on the wall at the most important moment of someone's life. I didn't know them perhaps a few hours prior, and now I am a part of their most intimate moment. And to me, that is such a blessing. I can't even explain how great it makes me feel to be able to be a part of that very private moment.

Host: Well, I can just tell your patients are very, very lucky to have you on the scene.

Terri: Well, I feel as though I'm the lucky one, I have to say.

Host: Yeah, my dad was doctor and he said every single time he had a delivery and it was successful, he just came home with the biggest smile on his face. He said every single time, it's a miracle. Every time.

Terri: It never gets old, ever, ever, ever. It never gets mundane or routine. Everyone is different. Everyone is special. And I just feel so happy to be a part of it.

Host: Well, Terri it's been so enlightening and so wonderful having you on the show. Thank you so much for the good information you've given us today. And more importantly for all your work during this crazy, crazy time on the front lines.

Terri: Thank you, Deborah. I appreciate it.

Host: To learn more about all these things, all the services at BayCare, please visit our BayCare website at And that wraps up this episode of BayCare HealthChat. Always remember to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast and all the other BayCare podcasts, so we can share the wealth of information from our experts together. This is Deborah Howell. Have yourself a terrific day.