Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Mary Ann Stark

Second Advisor

Wendy Kershner

Third Advisor

Ruth Zielinski


Giving continuous support to women in labor has been shown to be an effective way to provide women with an optimal childbirth experience. There are many people who can provide this type of support to women. It is thought that the best experiences occur when labor support is given from someone outside of the women’s social network and is a person not directly involved with the hospital or institution where the birth is occurring (Green, Amis, & Hotelling, 2007). Continuous support is more effective when the person providing labor support is in control of their emotions and has experience with the birthing process. (McGrath & Kennell, 2008).

The purpose of this review is to show why women in labor need continuous support, what the benefits of this support are, why nurses specifically are not in the best position to provide this support, and how the doula is able to provide women with continuous labor support. Common themes will be summarized to show how doula labor support can benefit laboring women and the healthcare system.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted