Chia‑Chi Chena, Jia‑Fu Leeb*
aDepartment of Early Childhood Care and Education, College of Nursing and Health, Kang Ning University, Taipei, Taiwan, bDepartment of Psychiatry, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Buddhist Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, New Taipei, Taiwan
Open Access funded by Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation
Objective: The cesarean section rate in Taiwan is 32%–34%, exceeding the rate that the World Health Organization considers reasonable. A doula is a trained woman who provides physical, emotional, and informational support to pregnant women before, during, and after delivery. This study investigated the effectiveness of a new doula program in Northern Taiwan. Materials and Methods: A quasi‑experimental research design was employed. Two hundred and twenty women, divided into an experimental group with doula services and a no‑doula control group receiving routine hospital care, participated in the present study. Participants’ basic information was collected; the study tools were the State‑Trait Anxiety Inventory, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, labor pain visual analog scale, a labor timetable, and Mother’s Level of Childbirth Satisfaction Rating Scale, which were distributed to participants during the postpartum hospitalization period. Results: The highest level of satisfaction was with the spouse in the control group and the doula in the experimental group. The results indicated that the childbirth process involved considerable anxiety in both groups. After delivery, the doula group exhibited a greater reduction in anxiety than the control group, but the reduction was not significant; however, a statistically significant difference was identified in the cesarean section (C/S) rate (13.0% vs. 43.2%) and normal spontaneous delivery (NSD) rate (87.0% vs. 56.8%) between the doula and control groups after controlling for the factor of primara. Conclusion: Providing continuous doula program to pregnant women requiring labor support may reduce the C/S rate and increase the NSD rate. The regression model showed that the factors including high prenatal anxiety, total time needed for doula accompaniment, and epidural and analgesics use were associated with labor women receiving C/S. The factors of continuous doula support and oxytocin use were associated with receiving NSD.
Keywords: Cesarean rate, Doula, Effectiveness, Labor support, Postpartum anxiety