5. Promoting Comfort: A Conceptual Approach

  1. Melissa D. Avery PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
  1. Kerri D. Schuiling

Published Online: 24 JUN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118783320.ch5

Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth

Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth

How to Cite

Schuiling, K. D. (2013) Promoting Comfort: A Conceptual Approach, in Supporting a Physiologic Approach to Pregnancy and Birth (ed M. D. Avery), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118783320.ch5

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 JUN 2013
  2. Published Print: 3 JUN 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470962862

Online ISBN: 9781118783320



  • childbirth;
  • comfort;
  • conceptual analysis;
  • Katherine Kolcaba's comfort theory;
  • midwifery care


Research suggests that comfort is more than the absence of pain and that its presence may prove to be beneficial for individuals seeking care. This chapter provides a theoretical perspective on the idea of providing comfort to support normal pregnancy and birth to help clinicians provide support to women during this important time in their lives. Comfort is not a new concept in health care and is commonly referred to as a component of the art of nursing. Katherine Kolcaba's theory of comfort is bi-dimensional and includes technical senses as one dimension and contexts of experience as the second dimension. The three technical senses of comfort are (i) relief, (ii) ease, and (iii) transcendence. These three technical senses are derived from etymological and conceptual analysis and represent the first dimension of comfort. Comfort theory has the potential to be helpful in developing evidence-based guidelines for caring for women during childbirth.