Perinatal nurses are registered nurses who care for women through pre-conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, generally up until the newborn is at least a month old. One of the main tasks of these nurses is to provide education to pregnant women about their unborn child. They also teach labor and delivery courses and show the patient and their loved ones various techniques and methods which can help facilitate a healthy and stress-free pregnancy. Perinatal nurses work alongside obstetricians, perinatal nurse practitioners, and midwives to ensure that their patients are receiving the best care possible.
Common duties that perinatal nurses are tasked with may include:
Perinatal nurses are commonly found in OBGYN settings, caring for pregnant and/or laboring women. Typical employment areas may include:
Prospective perinatal nurses must first earn an RN degree (ADN or BSN) and become licensed. New nurse grads benefit greatly gaining experience in a medical/surgical or labor and delivery unit for a year or two before moving onto the perinatal nursing specialty. After a nurse has gained some experience in the field, they can go on to acquire pertinent certification. Some prospective perinatal nurses will choose to continue with their education to earn a Master's of Science in Nursing Degree (MSN) to become a perinatal nurse practitioner or perinatal nurse specialist.
To become a perinatal nurse, the following educational requirements must be met:
*Some employers will require prospective perinatal nurses to have completed MSN degrees and hold nurse practitioner credentials before hiring them.
Yes, perinatal nurses are required to hold active and unrestricted RN licenses. The typical perinatal nurse will hold either an ADN or BSN degree.
Currently, the Perinatal Nursing certification (RN-BC) which is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is only available for renewal. However, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses offers various resources for prospective perinatal nurses like online continuing education credits.
The Nursing Credentialing Center also offers a number of certifications which prospective perinatal nurses may find useful such as:
As more individuals from the millennial generation - the largest generation since the baby boomers - begin to start families and have children, the demand for nurses in the maternal nursing sector will inevitably increase. This means perinatal nurses are uniquely positioned for increased opportunity and job security within their field in the coming years.
According to PayScale, the average annual salary for perinatal nurses is $70,228. Factors that will influence perinatal nurse salaries include their employer, the geographical location of their employment, their educational level, what credentials/certifications they hold, as well as the amount of experience in the field they have. In addition to their annual salaries, perinatal nurses generally receive generous benefits packages which often include medical insurance coverage, paid time-off, retirement plans, and much more.