Background: The job of the nurse in labor and delivery is not only to ensure a safe delivery but also to create a positive and satisfying childbirth experience. Few studies have been conducted of women's perceptions about the ideal image of the obstetric nurse during labor, and most previous studies involved only North American or European women. The purpose of this study was to assess Taiwanese women's perspectives about their encounters with obstetric nurses during labor. Methods: Interviews of a convenience sample of 50 mothers experiencing normal childbirth in Taiwan were conducted. The interviews were tape recorded and transcribed, and the transcriptions were analyzed to develop coding categories and identify themes. Results: Sixty percent of the participants reported having received helpful nursing behaviors only; 38 percent reported having received both helpful and unhelpful nursing behaviors. Helpful labor-coping measures that were valued by participants included performing roles of emotional support providers, comforters, information/advice providers, professional technical skills providers, and advocates. Forty percent of the participants reported that some nurses had hindered their labor-coping ability by failing to provide emotional support, comfort measures, adequate or correct information/advice, or to perform technical duties. Conclusions: The ideal nursing image encompasses the roles of emotional supporter, comforter, information/advice provider, professional/technical skill provider, and advocate. The findings may help obstetric team members better understand patients' needs, and enable them to provide better support during labor and to prevent unhelpful nursing behaviors.