In the late 1970s, when Dr's John Kennell and Marshall Klaus investigated ways to enhance maternal-infant bonding, they found, almost accidentally, that introducing a doula into the labour room not only improved the bond between mother and infant, but also seemed to decrease the incidence of complications. Since their original studies, published in the 1980s, numerous scientific trials have been conducted in many countries, comparing and analyzing how the type of person providing care appears to make a difference.
Researchers today are continuing to spend a considerable amount of energy into the perinatal period and an increasing amount into labour support provided by doulas. Labour support is looked into from a number of angles; in hospitals, in penitentiaries, multicultural settings, low-income families, single parents, and more. Whatever the angle, results have shown that labour support provided by caregivers who come to the labour setting expressly to provide this care appears to offer women more benefit than labour support provided by medical caregivers in the same setting. You will find below, a number of peer reviewed studies
Because of copyright obligations, we can only post bibliographic references. If you desire to see abstracts of most of the studies listed below, you can visit PubMed or the Cochrane Databaseand insert the bibliographic information. The abstracts will also give you the conclusions of others. Do use the results with a grain of salt as any information must be also assessed and weighed individually by reviewing the study parameters and methodologies used.