Effects of Labor Support on Mothers, Babies, and Birth Outcomes


Address for correspondence: Donna J. Sauls, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, P.O. Box 425498, Denton, TX 76204-5498. E-mail: E-mail: Dsauls@twu.edu.


Supportive care and childbirth have been connected for all of recorded history. The impact of supportive care on health outcomes, however, has only been investigated over the last few decades. Research provides powerful evidence of improved outcomes for mothers and babies when mothers are supported in labor. These outcomes include, but are not limited to, lower rates of analgesia and anesthesia use, lower operative birth rates, shorter labors, fewer newborns with 5-minute Apgar scores less than 7, increased maternal satisfaction with the birthing process, and much more. Intrapartum nurses must be knowledgeable of the research that is directly related to critical aspects of their care, such as labor support. This article provides an overview of the quantitative research related to the effect of labor support on birth and maternal and fetal outcomes during childbirth. By understanding and applying this research in clinical practice, bedside nurses may improve outcomes and transform intrapartum care.