Research on doulas


Hodnett, ED., Gates, S., Hofmeyr, GJ. & Sakala, C. Continuous support for women during childbirth Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 3. Download paper (PDF) from:

Keenan, P. Benefits of massage therapy and use of a doula during labor and childbirth Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine Jan 2000, 6(1), pp.66-74. Abstract available from:

Rosen, P. Supporting women in labor: analysis of different types of caregivers Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health Jan-Feb 2004, Vol 49(1), pp.24-31. Abstract available from:

Yogev, S. Support in Labour: a literature review MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 2004, 14(4), pp.486-492

Birth related

Ballen, LE. & Fulcher, AJ. Nurses and doulas. Complementary roles to provide optimal maternity care Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing 2006, 35, pp.304–311 Abstract available from:

Berg, M. & Terstad, A. Swedish women’s experiences of doula support during childbirth Midwifery 2006, 22(4), pp.330-338

Campbell, D., Scott, KD., Klaus, MH. & Falk, M. Female Relatives or Friends Trained as Labor Doulas: Outcomes at 6 to 8 Weeks Postpartum. Birth Sept 2007, Vol 34(3), pp.220–227. Abstract available from:

Campbell, DA., Lake, MF., Falk, M. & Backstrand, JR. A randomized control trial of continuous support in labor by a lay doula Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing 2006, 35, pp.456–464. Abstract available from:

Khreisheh, R. Support in the first stage of labour from a female relative: the first step in improving the quality of maternity services Midwifery 2009 (Article in Press). Abstract available from:

Lundgren, I. Swedish women’s experiences of doula support during childbirth Midwifery April 2010, Vol 26(2), pp.173-180

Martin, T., Stein, JH., Kennell, JH. & Fulcher, A. Benefits of a Doula Present at the Birth of a Child Pediatrics 2004, 114(5), pp.1488-1491. Download paper (PDF) from:

McGrath, SK. & Kennel, JH. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Continuous Labor Support for Middle-Class Couples: Effect on Cesarean Delivery Rates Birth 2008, 35(2), pp.92-97. Abstract available from:

Trueba, G., Contreras, C., Velazco, MT., Lara, EG. & Martínez, HB. Alternative Strategy to Decrease Cesarean Section: Support by Doulas During Labor Journal of Perinatal Education Spring 2000, 9(2), pp.8-13. Abstract available from:

Postnatal related

Goldbort, J. Postpartum depression: Bridging the gap between medicalized birth and social support International Journal of Childbirth Education December 2002. Abstract available from:

McComish, JF. & Visger, JM. Domains of Postpartum Doula Care and Maternal Responsiveness and Competence Journal of Obstetric, Gynaecologic & Neonatal Nursing Mar/Apr 2009, Vol 38(2), pp.148-156. Abstract available from:

Breastfeeding related

Mottl-Santiago, J., Walker, C., Ewan, J., Vragovic, O., Winder, S. & Stubblefield, P. A hospital-based doula program and childbirth outcomes in an urban, multicultural setting Maternal and Child Health Journal May 2008, Vol 12(3), pp.372-377. Abstract available from:

Key studies from pre-2000

Hofmeyr, GJ., Nikodem, VC., Wolman, W., Chalmers, BE. & Kramer, T. Companionship to modify the clinical birth environment: Effects on progress and perceptions of labour and breastfeeding British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Aug 1991, 98, pp.756–764. Abstract available from:

Kennell, JH., Klaus, MH., McGrath, S., Robertson, S. & Hinkley, C. Continuous emotional support during labor in a US hospital: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association May 1991, 265(17), pp.2197-201. Abstract available from:

Klaus, MH. & Kennell, JH. The doula: an essential ingredient of childbirth rediscovered. Acta Paediatrica 1997, 86(10), pp.1034–1036. Abstract available from:

Klaus MH, Kennell JH, Robertson SS, Sosa R. Effects of social support during parturition on maternal and infant morbidity British Medical Journal 1986; 293:585–587. Abstract available from:

Langer, A., Campero, L., Garcia, C. & Reynoso, S. Effects of psychosocial support during labour and childbirth on breastfeeding, medical interventions, and mothers' wellbeing in a Mexican public hospital: a randomised clinical trial British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Oct 1998, 105(10), pp.1056-63. Abstract available from:

Madi, BC., Sandall, J., Bennett, R. & MacLeod, C. Effects of female relative support in labour: a randomised controlled trial Birth 1999; 26(1), 4-8. Abstract available from:

Scott, KD., Klaus, PH., & Klaus, MH. The obstetrical and postpartum benefits of continuous support during childbirth Journal of Women’s Health Gender Based Medicine Dec 1999, 8(10), pp.1257-64. Abstract available from:

Wolman, WL., Chambers, B., Hofmeyr, GJ. & Nikodem, V. Post-partum depression and companionship in the clinical birth environment: A randomized, controlled study American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 1993, 168, pp.1380–1393. Abstract available from: