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How to Become a Postpartum Nurse: 5 Steps You Can Follow

Amanda Guarniere

Postpartum nurses provide immediate care to mothers and infants following birth. But how do you become one?

We will answer that as well as your other questions, like “Is this a demanding job?” and “How much time do you need to invest in order to become one?”

We’re also going to provide you with concise details like the education and certifications you’ll need in order to become a postpartum nurse.

Table of Contents

What is a Postpartum Nurse?

What exactly are postpartum nurses? Postpartum nurses are registered nurses who provide postpartum care and assistance to new mothers. In addition to attending to their patients’ physical and emotional needs, they are also trained to be on the lookout for potential problems such as postpartum depression or complications.

Postpartum nurses also educate new mothers on newborn care, providing them with the confidence boost they require before being sent home with their child. They also provide breastfeeding support and guidance, frequently in collaboration with a lactation specialist.

What Does a Postpartum Nurse Do?

Following a delivery, postpartum nurses provide critical physical and emotional care and recovery for both the new mom and the newborn baby. They are coached to educate new mothers and look for signs of postpartum depression, and they may collaborate with a lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding. 

Duties and Responsibilities

A large part of their role is to assist the mother in any way that is required. Their duties include the following:

  • After delivery, assess and monitor the new mother to ensure proper recovery and healing.
  • Clean and keep an eye on the newborn baby.
  • Examine vital signs.
  • If applicable, examine caesarian incisions.
  • After the delivery, remove the catheters.
  • As needed, dispense pain relievers and/or antibiotics.
  • Provide new parents with information on how to care for an infant.
  • Assist the new mother with the emotional aspects of postpartum recovery.
  • Collaborate with lactation consultants to assist the new mother in breastfeeding.

5 Steps to Becoming a Postpartum Nurse

Postpartum nurses are registered nurses who have gained experience in this specialized area of care and, in some cases, gone on to become certified and further their education. We’ve provided five steps to becoming one!

Step 1: Nursing School

Attending nursing school is the first step toward becoming a postpartum nurse. To take the first steps toward becoming a registered nurse, you must first obtain an ADN or a BSN from an accredited nursing program. Nursing students who want to be postpartum nurses should concentrate their elective courses on maternal and infant care.

Step 2: NCLEX-RN

The next step is to pass the NCLEX examination. Nurses earn their state license as a registered nurse after graduating from their nursing program and passing the NCLEX examination.

Step 3: Gain Experience and Connections

The third step is to gain experience. Following licensure, registered nurses can apply for nursing positions that will allow them to work and gain experience in a maternity unit.

Step 4: Certification

The fourth step is to obtain a certificate that will help them improve their skills and professional standing. Postpartum nurses can obtain one of two certifications:

Maternal Newborn Nursing (RNC-MNN)

Electronic Fetal Monitoring

Step 5: Advance Your Education

The fifth step is to further your education. Postpartum nurses who want to advance their careers and earn a higher salary can continue their education by earning an MSN or DNP.

Where Can a Postpartum Nurse Work?

The postpartum nurse mainly works in a hospital’s postpartum or maternity unit. Clinics and private practices are two other places where postpartum nurses work. They can also work in birthing facilities, which have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Postpartum nurses collaborate with other medical professionals such as OB-GYNs, labor and delivery specialty nurses, nursery nurses, lactation consultants, and others.

Postpartum Nurse Salary

Postpartum nurse salaries are influenced by factors such as geographic location, work environment, and nurse experience and certifications.

The median hourly wage for a postpartum nurse is $27.67, according to Payscale data from August 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary information for postpartum nurses; however, all registered nurses earn a median annual salary of $77,600.

According to the BLS, RN job growth will be six percent on average between 2021 and 2031. Despite the fact that the overall birth rate in the United States is decreasing, more than 3.5 million babies are born each year. Postpartum nurses assist in the care of new babies and their families.

Should I Become a Postpartum Nurse?

You’re probably wondering if you’d make an excellent postpartum nurse. We’re here to tell you what qualities you need to have to become one. Let us first acknowledge that postpartum nursing is a position of great responsibility.

Qualities of a Postpartum Nurse

Successful postpartum nurse qualities The most important requirement for becoming a postpartum nurse is that you enjoy working with newborns. In the days following their birth, you are directly responsible for their emotional and physical care. If you enjoy caring for others and assisting others, you’d make an excellent postpartum nurse.

Pros and Cons of Being a Postpartum Nurse

Of course, as with any profession, there can be drawbacks to being a postpartum nurse. Before entering the nursing field, it is critical to consider both the pros and cons. Any healthcare career is inherently difficult. 

In your role as a nurse, you may have to deal with stressful or messy situations. So we’ve listed the benefits and drawbacks we believe will help you decide if you want to be a postpartum nurse.


  • Being able to help and see new-born babies, as well as provide care for mothers and babies, is most likely one of the best benefits of working in this field, if not the best. If you have a soft heart for babies, this can be a huge advantage.
  • Another advantage of working as a postpartum nurse is that there are always openings. Hospitals and birthing centers will always need this position, so you will have no trouble finding work in this field.
  • The third advantage that we believe you would appreciate knowing is the salary rate, as this job is in high demand. The median hourly wage for a postpartum nurse is $27.67.


  • Now for the cons. One of the major disadvantages of this position is that it takes 4-6 years to become a postpartum nurse. It takes 2-4 years to earn an ADN or BSN, and another 2 years of experience to be eligible for nursing certification tests. To become a postpartum nurse, you must have a huge amount of patience and a genuine desire to help people.

Schools That Offer RN-to-BSN Programs

An RN to BSN program is designed for nurses who already have an ADN or, in some cases, a nursing diploma and want to continue their education to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. A benefit of an RN-BSN program is that it can be completed entirely online.

Here are the five schools that offer an RN to BSN program:

The University of Oklahoma

Best College Reviews ranked this online bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program as the best in the country in 2019. This program is flexible for working nurses, but it does require two Saturday in-person orientation dates per year, as well as optional monthly on-campus sessions. Students can complete the program in as little as nine months, but it can also be completed part-time.

  • Tuition: Resident: $14,216 per year Non-resident: $34,058 per year
  • Credit Hours: 30 credit hours and flexible clinical hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

University of Central Florida

According to World News and Report, this bachelor’s degree program contributed to the United States’ Best Online Bachelor’s Program 2021. The coursework consists of 30 credit hours, which can be completed in three semesters at a full-time pace or as gradually as ten semesters or five years. Students can also apply up to nine credit hours of graduate-level work toward an MSN degree.

  • Tuition: $179.19 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 30 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Arizona State University

Students in this program take ten 7.5-week classes. Current registered nurses can complete this program in 15 to 18 months. The program is 39 credits long, which is longer than most other online programs, but students take classes that are considered more innovative than those in other traditional BSN programs. In fact, ASU was recognized by the U.S. News & World Report, which named it one of the “Best Innovative Online BSN Programs” in 2019.

  • Tuition: Resident: $561 per credit hour. Non-resident: $661 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 39 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Herzing University

This program is unique in that it allows students to apply whenever it is most convenient for them. It also enables students to begin the program at their own pace. Classes are eight weeks long, and the degree can be completed in as little as a year. 

Students can earn a master’s degree while pursuing an online BSN degree. Students can save time and money as a result of this.

  • Tuition: $395.00 per credit hour.
  • Credit Hours: 26 credit hours and a 45-hour project designed to help your community
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Chamberlain University

Courses are entirely online, and this program boasts that there is no required log-in for classes. Students in this asynchronous program can begin and complete the program at their own pace with little supervision. According to Chamberlain University, this program is completely customizable and ideal for working nurses. This program can be finished in as few as three semesters.

  • Tuition: $590 per credit hour.
  • Credit Hours: 45 credit hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Postpartum Nurse Career Outlook

The national nursing shortage is expected to last for several years, which has directly impacted the demand for postpartum nurses.

Although the birth rate in the United States is declining, there are still nearly 4 million births each year, implying a constant need for experienced and skilled postpartum nursing.

Nurses who want to advance their careers should pursue certifications as well as advanced degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing, a Ph.D., or a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

FAQs About Becoming a Postpartum Nurse

How long does it take to become a Postpartum Nurse?

It takes between two and four years to become a postpartum nurse. ADN programs take two years to complete, whereas BSN programs take four years. Bridge programs or residencies at larger medical centers may be able to shorten this time frame. Earning a relevant certification in maternal-newborn nursing or electronic fetal monitoring necessitates at least two years of postpartum nursing experience.

How hard is it to become a postpartum nurse?

It goes without saying that working in this field is physically and mentally demanding; becoming a postpartum nurse requires hard work, patience, and dedication. To become one, you will need to devote a significant amount of time.

Are postpartum nurses in demand?

Postpartum nurses, like all RNs, are in high demand, though demand is generally higher in high-birth-rate areas and in underserved areas. The majority of postpartum nurse jobs are concentrated in larger cities,


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