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Promoting a Positive Childbirth Experience for Adolescents


  • Donna J. Sauls

    1. PhD, RN, is an associate professor and doctoral Program coordinator at Denton Campus, College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX
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  • The author and planners for this activity report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships. The article includes no discussion of off-label drug or devise use. No commercial support was received for this educational activity.

Donna J. Sauls, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, P.O. Box 425498, Denton, TX 76204-5498.


Objective: To identify and describe the labor support needs of adolescents that promote a positive childbirth experience.

Design: Mixed method.

Setting: Three tertiary care hospitals.

Patient/Participants: A convenience sample of 185 adolescents in the immediate postpartum period.

Methods: The quantitative component identified the supportive behaviors using the 26-item Bryanton Adaptation of the Nursing Support in Labor Questionnaire-Adolescents. The qualitative component used two open-ended questions to explore adolescents' needs during childbirth.

Results: The most helpful supportive behavior was to provide pain medication. By psychosocial developmental levels, early adolescents perceived the nurse praising them was most helpful whereas middle and late adolescents perceived the provision of pain medication most helpful. Four major themes emerged from written responses: respectful nurse caring, assistance with pain control, nursing support of the adolescent's support person, and childbirth guidance.

Conclusions: Adolescents were asked to recall their childbirth experiences to begin to develop a knowledge base specific to adolescent childbirth needs. By understanding the supportive behaviors that adolescents in labor desire and implementing those behaviors in their practice, intrapartum nurses can improve the childbirth experience for the adolescent.