Research on doulas


Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013. Available here

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 & Postnatal related

Brigstocke S. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 24, no 2, 2014, pp 157-160

Harris SJ1, Janssen PA, Saxell L, Carty EA, MacRae GS, Petersen KL. CMAJ. Effect of a collaborative interdisciplinary maternity care program on perinatal outcomes. 2012 Nov 20;184(17):1885-92. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.111753. Epub 2012 Sep 10. Abstract available here.

Goedkoop V. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 19, no 2, June 2009, pp 217-218

Birth related

Kozhimannil KB1, Attanasio LB, Jou J, Joarnt LK, Johnson PJ, Gjerdingen DK. Potential benefits of increased access to doula support during childbirth. The American Journal of Managed Care. 2014 Aug 1;20(8):e340-52. Abstract here.

Masoudi Z1, Akbarzadeh M2, Vaziri F1, Zare N3, Ramzi M4. The effects of decreasing maternal anxiety on fetal oxygenation and nucleated red blood cells count in the cord blood. Iranian Journal of Pediatrics. 2014 Jun;24(3):285-92. Abstract here

Amram NL, Klein MC, Mok H, Simkin P, Lindstrom K, Grant J. How birth doulas help clients adapt to changes in circumstances, clinical care, and client preferences during labor. The Journal of Perinatal Education . 2014 Spring;23(2):96-103. doi: 10.1891/1058-1243.23.2.96. Abstract here

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

Gjerdingen DK1, McGovern P, Pratt R, Johnson L, Crow S. Postpartum doula and peer telephone support for postpartum depression: a pilot randomized controlled trial. J Prim Care Community Health. 2013 Jan;4(1):36-43. doi: 10.1177/2150131912451598. Epub 2012 Jun 20. Abstract available here.

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:

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

Breastfeeding related

Edwards RC1, Thullen MJ, Korfmacher J, Lantos JD, Henson LG, Hans SL. Breastfeeding and complementary food: randomized trial of community doula home visiting. Pediatrics. 2013 Nov;132 Suppl 2:S160-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1021P. Abstract here.

Kozhimannil KB1, Attanasio LB, Hardeman RR, O'Brien M. Doula care supports near-universal breastfeeding initiation among diverse, low-income women. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2013 Jul-Aug;58(4):378-82. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12065. Epub 2013 Jul 9. Abstract available here.

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:

Fathers/partners & family related

Thullen MJ1, McMillin SE, Korfmacher J, Humphries ML, Bellamy J, Henson L, Hans S. Father participation in a community-doula home-visiting intervention with young, african american mothers. Infant Ment Health J. 2014 Sep;35(5):422-34. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21463. Epub 2014 Aug 25. Abstract here

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: