ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. — The nursing department at Mercy Medical Center, a member hospital of the Catholic Health Services of Long Island, conducted its annual Birth, Baby and Beyond educational seminar March 16. The all-day conference offered a number of workshops explaining various aspects of childbirth, including labor, delivery, breast-feeding and parenting to expectant couples and those planning to become pregnant.
The event also included tours of the hospital’s facilities throughout the day and table vendors offering products and information.
The workshops were conducted by members of the Birth, Baby and Beyond committee and other Mercy Medical staff. The morning session consisted of a panel discussion with an obstetrician, neonatalogist, perinataologist and pediatrician who explained the different services Mercy offers, and three other sessions on mental health before and after a baby, nutrition and pain management during labor.
Labor and delivery nurse SaraJean Sheinin, RN, and anesthesiologist Rami Najjar, MD, presented information about managing pain in the delivery room. The pair discussed what to expect during delivery, including side effects of anesthesia and the different options for pain management. A key point was that anesthesia administration during delivery, Sheinin said, is not designed to diminish all feeling. “The pump is turned off when you need to push, so there will be some discomfort then,” Sheinin said. “If you can’t feel, then you can’t push.”
Five simultaneous workshops ran during the afternoon covering topics such as sleeping, feeding and bathing of newborns; a Daddy Boot Camp for expectant dads to help them transition into fatherhood; a discussion on the benefits of breast-feeding; hands-on training on diaper changing, swaddling and the proper way to hold a newborn; and relaxation techniques, such as imagery, to use during labor.
Labor and delivery nurse Mariana Burger, RN, led the Oasis workshop that provided hands-on relaxation techniques for couples to help them focus on something other than the pain during labor. A good plan, according to Burger, is to just go with the flow.
“Labor is a rhythmic event,” she said. “The first thing you have to do is figure out what makes you relax and use that.”
Burger led participants through a floor exercise in which they imagined themselves in a place that either held a pleasant memory for them or that they found to be safe and played soft music to relax them. She also instructed them on short breath techniques to use during labor.
Mercy has offered the Birth, Baby and Beyond conference for the past four years, according to Karen Rennie, RNC-OB, C-EFM, MSN, clinical nurse specialist and chairwoman of the planning committee.
“More than 60 people attended this year’s event,” she said. “And we had the most first-time parents ever.”