Nursing Student Birth Doulas’ Influence on the Childbearing Outcomes of Vulnerable Populations

Document Type


Publication Date



Of 1,511 women served by nursing student birth doulas (Birth Companions) between 1998 and 2014, 34.5% were identified as vulnerable (refugees, non-English speakers, teens, low income, low education). This retrospective evaluation of the Birth Companions Program showed that vulnerable mothers had more epidurals and smaller babies, and attempted breastfeeding less frequently than nonvulnerable. There was no difference in the frequency of caesarean births, pitocin induction/augmentation, low birth weight, or preterm newborns among the vulnerable women. Birth Companion interventions may have a role in influencing these outcomes. The Birth Companions program will use this analysis to identify additional services for these populations.