Not Getting the Best Care in Labor? You Can Request a Different Nurse

There are several players that make up your care team during labor, birth, and postpartum. The care and support you receive from your partner, your OB or midwife, your doula, and your nurse all have an impact on your birth experience. If you are giving birth at a hospital, you will be assigned a nurse (or two) who will be in charge of the majority of your care. She will be responsible for getting you checked into a room (read: lots of paperwork to sign), monitoring your vitals, communicating your needs and progress to your care provider, meeting your general needs, and answering your questions. In most situations, your nurse is in and out of your room frequently rather than staying with you continuously.

Having a caring, supportive, respectful nurse goes a long way toward making your birthing experience a great one. But if you find that your nurse is not adding positively to your support team, you have the right to request a different nurse. The reality is, not every nurse is the right fit for every woman. And too, nurses are human! Everyone has their “off” days, which can make it hard to provide the best care. In most situations, there will be another nurse on staff that can be assigned to your care. You can request to see the charge nurse or nurse manager and politely ask her for a change in nurses, or, if you are uncomfortable with doing it yourself, task your partner or someone else on your support team to politely request a change in nurse. Rest assured knowing that there will be no love lost from staff — one of their primary goals is patient satisfaction, so they prefer you speak up!

Do you have an experience with changing nurses during your birth? Tell us about it!


photo credit: drewesque via photopin cc

Avatar of Cara TerreriAbout Cara Terreri
Cara began working with Lamaze in 2004, two years before becoming a mother. Three kids later, she's a full-fledged healthy birth advocate and the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence. Most recently Cara began study to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and DONA certified doula (learn more about her services at She continues to stand in awe of the power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and enjoys helping women discover their own power and joy in the journey to motherhood.


  1. Laura says:

    I am nervous that they will make things worse if you request a change.

  2. Sherah says:

    I am a labor and delivery nurse, and I see this happen every once in a while. Not every patient will get along with every nurse, sometimes people just don’t mesh. Chances are, if you aren’t too thrilled about your nurse, she may not be too thrilled about you either, and if that is the case, you need another one. Most of the times I see this issue, it is because a patient wants a natural labor and the nurse they are assigned to isn’t super supportive (translation, they don’t want the extra work). If that is the case CHANGE NURSES! The nurse in charge will try to assign a nurse that enjoys or is supportive of natural labor. This can make a HUGE difference in your care. Get a nurse that is on your side that is willing to be your advocate and fight with you.

    Laura, as far as making things worse, I can’t speak for every situation, but for the most part, we as nurses want you to have the best experience, so we usually aren’t greatly offended about it. In fact, I have seen several situations where the nurse has already suggested a switch before the patient did. We usually know ourselves and our weaknesses =) I wish you the best of luck in your Labor, I hope it turns out the way you want it to!

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