Doula Support and Pregnancy-Related Complications and Death Among Childbearing Women in the United States: A Scoping Review

Allison D. Crawford, Emily C. Carder, Emme Lopez, Kelly McGlothen-Bell

Producción científica: Review articlerevisión exhaustiva


Introduction: The potential benefits of perinatal doula support are many; however, doulas are underutilized, which may heighten pregnancy-related complications. In this scoping review, we assess the influence of perinatal doula support on pregnancy-related complications and death in the United States. Methods: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, and Alt HealthWatch for literature on doula support and its influence on pregnancy-related complications (maternal fever or infection, postpartum hemorrhage, amniotic fluid embolism, complications from anesthesia, preeclampsia, eclampsia, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary or thrombotic embolism, and cerebrovascular accident). Peer-reviewed articles written in English and conducted in the United States from 1969 to 2021 were included. Screening at all levels was blinded. We extracted data based on title, author, year, design, population, sample size, methods, limitations, recommendations, and definition of doula support. Results: Following removal of duplicates, review of 3679 article titles and abstracts yielded 42 articles for full-text review; 3 articles met final inclusion criteria. One included study focused on intrapartum doula support and 2 on doula support that extended throughout the perinatal period. Within the included studies, doula support was associated with decreased rates of intrapartum maternal fever and gestational hypertension; however, it was not associated with decreased rates of gestational diabetes or depression. Discussion: The literature has addressed the benefits of perinatal doula support, but studies with validated tools to examine associations between doula support and pregnancy-related complications and death are lacking. The studies that addressed intrapartum and continuous doula care included large generalizable samples, from which future research can draw to improve the practice of caring for patients during the perinatal period. Extensive research shows that unfavorable conditions can influence perinatal outcomes across generations. Implementing doula support may offer a potential approach to reduce and help alleviate resulting disparities in perinatal health.

Idioma originalEnglish (US)
Páginas (desde-hasta)118-126
Número de páginas9
PublicaciónJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
EstadoPublished - ene 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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