Delivering babies is no easy job. It’s psychologically demanding, and also very physical in nature, often leaving doctors and nurses in discomfort.

Delivering babies is tricky business!

Sure, delivering one baby is unlikely to injure someone. But repeating this stressful work, often in awkward postures, can result in injury if left unaddressed. This past week I had the opportunity to observe and follow along on an evening shift with a group of obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) residents in a busy city hospital. The reason for my visit was residents’ concerns over work-related discomfort, which, in some cases, leads to job change or reduction of work hours. This is a big problem, particularly in a city experiencing a baby boom. Witnessing the miracle of a new life entering the world left me awestruck, but also shocked at how physically and mentally demanding it was for mother and staff member alike. In this short, five-hour observation, I witnessed the delivery of two babies – one by C-section and the other naturally. In each case, staff were required to exert high levels of force in very awkward positions, while still protecting the tiny little life in their hands. Between deliveries, staff were racing between the operating room, the assessment unit, and labor and delivery rooms, affording little time for rest. OBGYN staff must be extremely physically and mentally fit to navigate the unique demands of their highly emotional and stressful work environment, as well as the concerns of new mothers and their families. As an occupational therapist, my responsibility is to identify, eliminate, or modify the job factors that can contribute to discomfort and/or injury. To do this for OBGYN staff, many solutions need to be considered, including: proper positioning of the body, use of equipment to reduce force, and incorporation of stretching and stress management techniques. Over the next three weeks, I will be reviewing key job factors and strategies to ensure a healthier work environment for OBGYN staff.
EWI Works offers many services that can improve your quality of life and health at work. Find out more about our Online Training, Services, and Resources.
Follow us on Twitter for more updates and offers, or sign up for our newsletter below.