A labor and delivery nurse plays a pivotal role in helping pregnant women throughout the childbirth experience. This specialty involves guiding women in the stages of early labor and providing care and support through delivery and the immediate postpartum period.

Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of labor and delivery nurses, as well as salary and outlook figures.

Labor and Delivery Nurse: Job Description

Roles and Responsibilities

Labor and delivery nurses help deliver babies and assist moms throughout the process. This requires knowledge of the four stages of childbirth: antepartum, intrapartum, postpartum and neonatal.

Specific responsibilities include the following.

•  Monitoring vital signs for the baby and mother, including heart rate and blood pressure
•  Administering medications
•  Starting IV lines
•  Measuring contractions
•  Aiding with inducing labor
•  Identifying and assisting with handling complications
•  Assisting with surgery, in the event of a cesarean delivery
•  Coaching new mothers

Labor and delivery nurses are present throughout the labor, birth and postpartum experience, unlike doctors and midwives, who may be with the mother only part of the time. These specialty nurses are able to provide a great deal of assistance, encouragement and comfort to new moms. They serve as a liaison between patients and medical teams.


Labor and delivery nurses are required to be registered nurses. Some registered nurses have a diploma or associate degree, but many health care employers require that nurses have a bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, labor and delivery nursing is a desirable specialty, so prospective labor and delivery nurses should maximize their education and credentials.

Current and prospective labor and delivery nurses can increase their employment prospects with the Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB) certification through the National Certification Corporation. Eligibility requirements include 24 months of specialty experience with a minimum of 2,000 hours. Specialty experience includes direct patient care, education, administration or research.

Learn more about earning your BSN

Learn the skills needed to advance your nursing career with the online RN to BSN from Notre Dame of Maryland University.

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Labor and Delivery Nurse: Salary

The median annual wage for registered nurses is $68,450, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest 10 percent earn more than $102,990 and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $47,120.

Registered nurses who practice in hospitals, like labor and delivery nurses, earn $70,590. The BLS does not provide salary data for nursing specialties.

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 16 percent by 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur due to an overall rise in demand for health care services. Education remains critical for nurses’ job prospects. “Overall, job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to be good,” according to the BLS. “However, the supply of new nurses entering the labor market has increased in recent years. This increase has resulted in competition for jobs in some areas of the country. Generally, registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one.”

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Becoming a Labor and Deliver Nurse

Earning an online RN to BSN from Notre Dame of Maryland University can help you pursue employment opportunities in labor and delivery nursing or another specialty. Take the opportunity to reflect on your current practice, identify how caring can be preserved as the foundation of nursing and work to transform health care through caring practice. Gain the skills and knowledge needed to enhance your career opportunities in nursing while fulfilling the educational requirements of many health care employers. Most students complete their degree in 15 to 18 months.