A cesarean section (CS) is a vital maternal care intervention when necessary; however, the surgical procedure places childbearing women at direct risk for infection, hemorrhage, thromboembolism, injury to bladder or bowel, post-surgical pain, and complications from anesthesia. The risk of mortality associated with CS is four to five times more likely compared to vaginal delivery. Severe nursing shortages, high patient volumes, and patients with complex pregnancy related health concerns create barriers to the provision of continuous labor support (CLS) by labor and delivery (L&D) nurses. Partnering with certified doulas and implementing the CLS methods they employ may promote spontaneous vaginal birth, improve maternal outcomes, and birth satisfaction overall (Bohren et al., 2017; Chen et al., 2018). To obtain a more in-depth understanding of the correlation between traditional nursing care, doula care, and CS rates, this benchmark study explores evidence to guide the implementation of an interprofessional learning intervention. Traditional nursing care is provided by a member of the perinatal healthcare team in a usual setting. A doula is a birth companion that supports a mother before, during, and after childbirth. They provide emotional, physical, and educational support (Doulas of North America International [DONA], 2023). Examining the role of the L&D nurse and doula while applying learned CLS methods supports meaningful change in the usual care model to decrease maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality rates associated with CS.

Date of publication

Fall 12-4-2023

Document Type

MSN Capstone Project



Persistent identifier



Masters of Science Nursing