Nurses Make the Greatest Difference–Labor and Delivery

When infants are born, they enter a cold, noisy world apart from their mothers for the very first time. Stork Nurse Meghan Wagoner helps babies and moms make skin-to-skin contact for the first two hours after delivery to reduce stress and to help them bond quickly. Meghan is Living Proof that great nurses make the greatest difference.

Meghan, of Whitehall, is the first to admit that she has a great job. She helps little miracles ease into the world every day. Along with colleague Sandy Stanley, she started the Stork Nurse Program at West Penn Hospital in 2014.

“I love helping moms and babies,” said Meghan. “It’s a special time. Meeting a new human and helping them make the transition easier is really neat.”

Part of Allegheny Health Network (AHN), West Penn delivers more than 4,000 babies annually, and features newly remodeled labor, delivery, and postpartum facilities. Its Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) treats 650 critically ill or premature babies every year.

Skin-to-skin benefits babies and mothers

Meghan enjoys educating her patients on the value of skin-to-skin positioning after delivery. Compared to babies who do not have skin-to-skin contact, these babies:

  • Are better able to maintain a normal body temperature
  • Are better able to normalize and maintain their heart and respiratory rates
  • Have a lower stress hormone level
  • Have a more stable blood sugar level 
  • Are more content and less likely to cry
  • Are more likely to achieve an early, good-quality latch if breastfeeding

Focusing on mom’s and baby’s well-being

Expectant parents who choose West Penn for labor and delivery are assigned one of five Stork Nurses like Meghan who care for infants and moms. They also make sure infants get their medical exams and weight and length measurements, without separating mother and baby. Stork Nurses also assist women who deliver through caesarean sections (C-section) and ensure they receive skin-to-skin time just like women who deliver vaginally.

“I help mom and dad have the delivery they want, even if they end up having a C-section,” said Meghan. “We still come in to help with bonding and skin-to-skin, even if things don’t go as planned.”

An advocate in the operating room

Jessica and William Humphries IV of Marshall Township recently welcomed a son into the world at West Penn. They had a scheduled C-section. Meghan was there to provide skin-to-skin support after the surgery and to concentrate on baby William Humphries V, whom they call Quin. 

Jessica was glad that Meghan was there to care for Quin while everyone else was ensuring her own recovery after the C-section. “It was nice to have someone focused on him in the operating room,” said Jessica. “She was focused on more than just his Apgar scores. She helped me position him for nursing.”

Women’s Health at AHN

AHN is the fastest growing health network in western PA for labor and delivery.1 We have four hospitals across the region that provide labor and delivery services.

  • Over 7,300 births in 2016 across Jefferson, Forbes, Saint Vincent, and West Penn Hospitals. 
  • Each hospital providing labor and delivery services also has a NICU for critically-ill infants to receive highly specialized care. A skilled, neonatal transfer team safely escorts hundreds of babies from community hospitals to West Penn’s Level III NICU each year.
  • Maternal fetal medicine specialists provide prenatal outreach, tests, and management for high-risk pregnancies. 
  • Patient care teams may include doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and midwives 

Learn more

1Claim based on inpatient utilization data as reported by Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council for calendar years 2012-2015. Available at