health disparity, treatment disparity, childbirth satisfaction, labor and birth, doula, delivery and labor
A source of support during birth could be the solution to negative outcomes for the mother and her baby. To improve the birthing experience and increase positive birthing outcomes, sources of support during pregnancy should be evaluated and understood. The goal of this review was to synthesize the existing literature on how doulas might improve birth outcomes. This scoping review also aimed to shed light on the positive impact emotional support during childbirth can have on the health and well-being of mother and child. PubMed and EBSCOhost were used to identify articles using the search words with Boolean operators "doulas" AND "labor support" AND "birth outcomes" AND "pregnancy" AND "effects during labor." The eligibility criteria for article selection included primary studies investigating how doulas contributed to birth outcomes. The studies in this review indicated that doula guidance in perinatal care was associated with positive delivery outcomes including reduced cesarean sections, premature deliveries, and length of labor. Moreover, the emotional support provided by doulas was seen to reduce anxiety and stress. Doula support, specifically in low-income women, was shown to improve breastfeeding success, with quicker lactogenesis and continued breastfeeding weeks after childbirth. Doulas can be a great resource for birthing mothers, and consideration should be given to using them more, as they may have a positive impact on the well-being of the mother and child. This study raised questions about the accessibility of doulas and how they may help mitigate health disparities among women from different socioeconomic levels.
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Sobczak, Alexandria; Taylor, Lauren; Solomon, Sydney; Ho, Jodi; Kemper, Scotland; Phillips, Brandon; Jacobson, Kailey; Castellano, Courteney; Ring, Ashley; Castellano, Brianna; and Jacobs, Robin J., "The Effect of Doulas on Maternal and Birth Outcomes: A Scoping Review." (2023). HPD Articles. 375.
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