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Research Library

The Maternal Health Network has gathered the latest research, reports, scientific briefs, and more that are specific to the study of prenatal and postpartum healthcare, wellness, and birthing outcomes.  

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Browse the Research Library for research articles, reports, scientific briefs and more! 

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"An extra layer of pressure to be my best self”: Healthcare provider perspectives on how doulas foster accountability and bridge gaps in pregnancy-related care

SSM - Qualitative Research in Health

This analysis contributes to the broader literature on doula care by describing mechanisms through which doulas improve pregnancy-related care. Doulas may be critical for birthing people who are most likely to experience mistreatment due to racism and other dimensions of oppression.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Research article

Topic(s):

Doulas

Adverse childhood experiences and prescription opioid use during pregnancy: an analysis of the North and South Dakota PRAMS, 2019–2020

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth vol. 23

Utilizing data from 2,999 individuals in the 2019 and 2020 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System from two US states, researchers examined the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and prescription opioid use during pregnancy. This study highlights the negative effects that adverse childhood experiences can have on the health of individuals over their lifetime, especially during the vulnerable period of pregnancy.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Substance use, ACEs

Analysis of Heat Exposure During Pregnancy and Severe Maternal Morbidity

Jama Network Open

In this cohort study with 403 602 pregnancies from 2008 to 2018 in Southern California, statistically significant associations were observed between both long- and short-term maternal heat exposure during pregnancy and increased risks of severe maternal morbidity.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Maternal mortality and morbidity

Analysis of research on interventions for the prevention of safety accidents involving infants: a scoping review

National Library of Medicine

This study aimed to conduct a scoping review of studies on interventions for the prevention of safety accidents involving infants.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Infant safety

Association Between Publicly Funded Contraceptive Services and the Abortion Rate in Texas, 2010-2015

Obstetrics and Gynecology vol 141

This study researches how the availability of contraceptive services was associated with a change in the abortion rate before and after Texas' legislative changes to the family planning budget in 2011 and abortion access in 2013.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Reproductive justice

Benefits of maternally-administered infant massage for mothers of hospitalized preterm infants: a scoping review

Maternal Health, Neonatology and Perinatology

Infant massage (IM) is a well-studied, safe intervention known to benefit infants born preterm. Less is known about the benefits of maternally-administrated infant massage for mothers of preterm infants who often experience increased rates of anxiety and depression in their infants’ first year of life. This scoping review summarizes the extent, nature, and type of evidence linking IM and parent-centered outcomes.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Review

Topic(s):

Preterm birth

Benzylpenicillin concentrations in umbilical cord blood and plasma of premature neonates following intrapartum doses for group B streptococcal prophylaxis

Maternal Health, Neonatology and Perinatology

Dutch obstetrics guideline suggest an initial maternal benzylpenicillin dose of 2,000,000 IU followed by 1,000,000 IU every 4 h for group-B-streptococci (GBS) prophylaxis. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether concentrations of benzylpenicillin reached concentrations above the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MIC) in umbilical cord blood (UCB) and neonatal plasma following the Dutch guideline.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Research article

Topic(s):

Scientific advances

Breastfeeding Aversion Response (BAR): A Descriptive Study

Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health

Some women have reported negative sensations such as an overwhelming need to unlatch while breastfeeding. This phenomenon is known as breastfeeding aversion response (BAR). This study therefore aimed to expand the understanding of BAR using an online survey targeting those who have experienced feelings of aversion while breastfeeding.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Lactation

Breastfeeding Report Card

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC’s Breastfeeding Report Card, 2022 provides a compilation of data on breastfeeding practices and supports in all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Report

Topic(s):

Lactation

Brief of “An extra layer of pressure to be my best self”: Healthcare provider perspectives on Doula Care

Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity (SHARE) Program & SisterWeb

To create opportunities for bidirectional feedback between doulas and healthcare providers, SisterWeb developed the Champion Dyad Initiative, which fosters the support of one or two staff “champions” at labor and delivery sites. As part of an evaluation of SisterWeb’s community doula programs, researchers at UC Berkeley interviewed physicians, midwives, and nurses who worked at hospitals and clinicswhere SisterWeb doula clients receive care.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Brief

Topic(s):

Doulas

CalAIM Explained: Caring for Californians Leaving Incarceration

California Health Care Foundation

This guide, developed by the Center for Health Care Strategies in partnership with Community Oriented Correctional Health Services and the California Health Care Foundation, can support California stakeholders looking to partner with the criminal legal system. While developed for the California context, the lessons within are applicable for health care professionals everywhere interested in learning the basics of the correctional system, the reentry process, and finding key partnership opportunities to serve and improve the health outcomes of this population.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Brief

Topic(s):

Criminal justice

Childhood trauma and fear of childbirth: findings from a birth cohort study

Archives of Women's Mental Health

This retrospective cohort study of 2556 women aimed to examine the relationship between childhood trauma and fear of childbirth (FOC). The study found that emotional abuse, emotional neglect, and a higher total burden of childhood trauma (as measured by the TADS total score) increased the risk of FOC. However, there was no evidence of a significant association between physical abuse, physical neglect, sexual abuse, and FOC.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Childhood maltreatment, Mental health

Children with Trans Parents: Parent–Child Relationship Quality and Psychological Well-being

Parenting vol. 21

This exploratory study offers the first quantitative assessment of parent–child relationship quality and child socio-emotional and behavioral adjustment in families with a self-identified trans parent with school-aged children. The study concluded that parents and children in trans parent families had good quality relationships and children showed good psychological adjustment. The findings of this exploratory study challenge commonly held concerns about the potentially negative effects on children of growing up with a trans parent.

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Release Year:

2021

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

LGBTQIA+

Chronic Hypertension in Pregnancy and Racial–Ethnic Disparities in Complications

Obstetrics & Gynecology

In this study, women with chronic hypertension or antepartum anemia were more likely to experience severe maternal morbidity, which is defined as a life-threatening complication that occurs during pregnancy, childbirth, or the postpartum period. The study also found that Black and Hispanic women were disproportionately affected by these conditions.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Health equity, Pregnancy-related risk factors

Developing Financially Sustainable Child Health Transformation: Lessons from Primary Care Innovators

Center for Health Care Strategies

This brief from the Center for Health Care Strategies describes existing payment barriers and opportunities for primary care providers serving children to work toward financially sustaining care transformation. It draws from interviews with pediatric practices and subject matter experts engaged in the national Accelerating Child Health Transformation initiative.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Brief

Topic(s):

Child health

Early childhood lower respiratory tract infection and premature adult death from respiratory disease in Great Britain: a national birth cohort study

The Lancet vol 401

Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in early childhood are known to influence lung development and lifelong lung health, but their link to premature adult death from respiratory disease is unclear. This study aimed to estimate the association between early childhood LRTI and the risk and burden of premature adult mortality from respiratory disease.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Respiratory conditions

Effect of implementing a birth plan on maternal and neonatal outcomes: a randomized controlled trial

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth vol. 22

This study aimed to investigate the effect of birth plan on maternal and neonatal outcomes. This study was a randomized controlled clinical trial performed on 106 pregnant women, 32–36 weeks of pregnancy, referring to Taleghani educational hospital in Tabriz city-Iran.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Birth plan

Effect of maternal nutrition education on early initiation and exclusive breast-feeding practices in south Ethiopia: a cluster randomised control trial

Journal of Nutritional Science vol. 11

Optimal breast-feeding practices make a major contribution to the promotion of healthy growth and development through much prevention of diarrheal and respiratory diseases which majorly cause morbidity and mortality in under-five children. However, breast-feeding practices remain suboptimality in Ethiopia. The study objective was to determine the effect of maternal nutrition education on early initiation and exclusive breast-feeding practice in the Hawela Tulla sub-city.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Lactation, Nutrition

Engaging Communities of Color to Promote Health Equity: Five Lessons from New York-Based Health Care Organizations

Center for Health Care Strategies

This brief outlines considerations for healthcare organizations to improve partnership relationships with patients of color to inform program and policy design. This brief expands on how Partnering with patients and community members of color to understand needs and preferences is an important step in improving health outcomes and advancing health equity.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Brief

Topic(s):

Health equity

Examination of maternal near-miss experiences in the hospital setting among Black women in the United States

Women's Health vol. 18

The high rate of maternal mortality among Black women in the United States continues to gain attention; yet research has not yet fully illuminated the precursors to these events, most impactful among them being “maternal near misses.” Researchers have focused on reviewing patient medical records after sentinel maternal events to help determine major contributors to them; however, qualitative studies with near-miss survivors, especially among Black women, may be a more useful approach.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Research article

Topic(s):

Health equity, Black/African American communities, Maternal mortality and morbidity

Experiences of childbirth care among immigrant and non-immigrant women: a cross-sectional questionnaire study from a hospital in Norway

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth vol 23

This cross sectional study of 680 women aimed to investigate the childbirth experiences of immigrant and non-immigrant women, specifically focusing on perceived quality of care and the fulfillment of healthcare needs. The findings highlight the importance of further research to assess immigrant women's childbirth experiences and the need for healthcare providers to deliver optimal care that is sensitive to cultural backgrounds and individual expectations.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Immigrant communities

Factors associated with short birth interval in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth vol. 20

There is ample evidence of associations between short birth interval and adverse maternal and child health outcomes, including infant and maternal mortality. This is a systemic review to systematize evidence on risk factors for short birth interval in low- and middle-income countries.

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Release Year:

2020

Research Tag:

Review

Topic(s):

Birth spacing

Fathers, Breastfeeding, and Infant Sleep Practices: Findings From a State-Representative Survey

Pediatrics

A study published in June 2023 affirmed that fathers are an important factor in whether breastfeeding is successful and whether babies sleep in safe environments. This study suggests that it may be important to focus on the education of fathers regarding the benefits of breastfeeding and safe sleep.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Breastfeeding/Lactation, Safe sleep, Fatherhood

Federal Policy to Advance Racial, Ethnic, and Tribal Health Equity

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Federal Policy to Advance Racial, Ethnic, and Tribal Health Equity analyzes how past and current federal policies may create, maintain, and/or amplify racial, ethnic, and tribal health inequities. This report identifies key features of policies that have served to reduce inequities and makes recommendations to help achieve racial, ethnic, and tribal health equity.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Report

Topic(s):

Health equity, Native/indigenous communities

Interpregnancy intervals and adverse birth outcomes in high-income countries: An international cohort study

PLoS One vol 16

Most evidence for interpregnancy interval (IPI) and adverse birth outcomes come from studies that are prone to incomplete control for confounders that vary between women. Comparing pregnancies to the same women can address this issue.

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Release Year:

2021

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Birth spacing

Interventions to Improve Safer Sleep Practices in Families With Children Considered to Be at Increased Risk for Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy: A Systematic Review

frontiers in Pediatrics

Advice to families to follow infant care practices known to reduce the risks of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) has led to a reduction in deaths across the world. This reduction has slowed in the last decade with most deaths now occurring in families experiencing social and economic deprivation. A systematic review of the literature covered three areas: interventions to improve engagement with support services, parental decision-making for the infant sleep environment, and interventions to improve safer sleep practices in families with infants considered to be at risk of SUDI.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Review

Topic(s):

Safe sleep

Maternal childhood maltreatment and perinatal outcomes: A systematic review

Journal of Affective Disorders vol. 302

This review explores the impact of MCM on four perinatal outcome domains: pregnancy and obstetric; maternal mental health; infant; and the quality of the care-giving environment. Mechanisms identified in the included studies are discussed in relation to the maternal programming hypothesis and directions for future research.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Review

Topic(s):

Childhood maltreatment

Perceptions of Social Support from Pregnant and Parenting Teens Using Community-Based Doulas

The Journal of Perinatal Education, Volume 14, Number 3

This descriptive study was designed to explore and describe the perceptions of disadvantaged pregnant and parenting teens who received support from culturally matched, community-based doulas. Their reported perceptions included enhanced knowledge about childbearing, support during childbirth, self-care, and early attachment to the newborn. Participants concurred that the community-based doula intervention had a positive impact on their supportive networks. This innovative model can supplement perinatal programs through utilization of culturally sensitive, community-based doulas that provide comprehensive relationship-based caring.

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Release Year:

2005

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Teen parenting

Phenomenology, Epidemiology and Aetiology of Postpartum Psychosis: A Review

Brain Sciences vol. 11

While childbirth appears to be a potent trigger of severe mood disorders, the precise mechanisms by which postpartum psychosis occurs are poorly understood. This review examines the current evidence with respect to potential aetiology and childbirth-related triggers of postpartum psychosis.

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Release Year:

2021

Research Tag:

Review

Topic(s):

Mental health

Physician Perspectives and Workforce Implications Following the Repeal of Roe v. Wade

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academies Standing Committee on Reproductive Health, Equity, and Society and the National Academy of Medicine, committed to equitable access to quality reproductive health, hosted a webinar, After Roe: Physician Perspectives and Workforce Implications, in May 2023. Discussions increased awareness and promoted dialogue in the medical, public health, societal, and general population. This proceedings document summarizes the discussions held during the webinar.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Brief

Topic(s):

Reproductive justice

Potential Epigenetic Effects of Human Milk on Infants’ Neurodevelopment

Nutrients vol. 15

This narrative review provides an updated analysis of the relationship between breast milk feeding and infants’ neurodevelopment via epigenetics, pointing out how breast milk’s bioactive components could have an impact on the neurodevelopment of both full-term and preterm babies.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Review

Topic(s):

Lactation

Screening for postpartum depression and risk of suicidality with obstetrical patients

BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth

This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and risk factors associated with postpartum depression (PPD) and the risk of suicidality among individuals who gave birth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers surveyed individuals who had given birth at The Ottawa Hospital between March and June 2020. Of the 216 respondents, 30% screened positive for PPD, and 8% screened positive for the risk of suicidality. Factors associated with PPD included negative coping strategies and pre-existing anxiety/depression. Risk of suicidality was associated with pre-existing anxiety/depression. These findings highlight the importance of mental health screening and promoting positive coping strategies to improve postpartum mental health for individuals who gave birth during the pandemic.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Mental health

Severe Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Sickle Cell Disease in the National Inpatient Sample, 2012-2018

JAMA Network Open

The objective of this study was to tabulate adverse pregnancy outcomes among patients with SCD, comparing outcomes of deliveries among Black people with SCD with those of Black people without SCD and a control non-Black population, and to measure the association of racial disparities with adverse outcomes in SCD pregnancies.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Maternal mortality and morbidity

Stillbirths, miscarriages and early losses in armed conflict contexts. The modification effect of violence. The Colombian case

Social Science & Medicine

This study uses data from the National Centre of Historic Memory (NCHM) and the Vital Statistics Survey to assesses the odds of stillbirths and miscarriages in regions exposed to violence in Colombia. The research reveals that living in the most violent regions is associated with a higher risk of stillbirths, miscarriages, or early losses. The protective effect of university education on live births is diminished for mothers in violent regions and periods, suggesting that the stress caused by violence has a more significant impact on educated mothers in such environments. This study sheds light on the previously overlooked influence of regional violence on the protective benefits of maternal education in Colombia's conflict-affected areas.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Infant mortality

Supporting Birthing People and Supporting Doulas: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on a Community-Based Doula Organization in San Francisco

Health Equity vol. 7

Beginning in March 2020, health care systems in the United States restricted the number of support people who could be present during pregnancy-related care to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This study aimed to describe how SisterWeb, a community-based doula organization that employs Black, Pacific Islander, and Latinx doulas in San Francisco, California, adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Doulas, COVID-19

Supporting breastfeeding equity: A cross-sectional study of US birthing facility administrators:

Preventive Medicine Reports vol. 34

Disparities in breastfeeding have continued in the United States (US) despite efforts to increase breastfeeding rates. Hospitals are in a unique position to enable breastfeeding and help reduce disparities; however, it is unclear whether hospital administration is supportive of breastfeeding equity practices or plans. This study aimed to assess birthing facility plans to support breastfeeding among women of low income and women of color across the US.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Lactation

The U.S. Maternal Health Divide: The Limited Maternal Health Services and Worse Outcomes of States Proposing New Abortion Restrictions

The Commonwealth Fund

This brief assesses the current state of maternal and infant health in states that have passed "trigger laws", identifies weaknesses in perinatal care systems, and considers how abortion bans may exacerbate these weaknesses. It compares states that have current or proposed abortion bans or restrictions with states that are unlikely to pass such restrictions.

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Release Year:

2022

Research Tag:

Brief

Topic(s):

Reproductive justice

The role of doulas in providing breastfeeding support during the COVID-19 pandemic

International Breastfeeding Journal vol 18

The COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdowns, and social isolation created challenges for nursing mothers to access doulas' services, usually provided in person. In this study, they examined the role of doulas in providing breastfeeding support during the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring adaptation to COVID-19 guidelines and the challenges doulas face in providing breastfeeding support during the pandemic.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

COVID-19, Doulas

The social predictors of paternal antenatal mental health and their associations with maternal mental health in the Queensland Family Cohort prospective study

Archives of women's mental health vol. 26

Antenatal depression (AND) affects 1 in 10 fathers, potentially negatively impacting maternal mental health and well-being during and after the transition to parenthood. However, few studies have assessed the social predictors of paternal AND or their possible associations with maternal mental health. This study analysed data from 180 couples participating in the Queensland Family Cohort longitudinal study.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Mental health

The volume and monetary value of human milk produced by the world's breastfeeding mothers: Results from a new tool

Frontiers in Public Health

The Mothers' Milk Tool was developed to make more visible the economic value contributed to society by women's unpaid care work through breastfeeding infants and young children. This article describes the development and display key features of the tool, and reports results for selected countries.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Research article

Topic(s):

Lactation

Vital Signs: Maternity Care Experiences

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

The CDC released a report titled "Vital Signs: Maternity Care Experiences", outlining the mistreatment mothers face during maternity care and highlighting severe rates of racial discrimination among Black, Hispanic, and multiracial mothers. This report emphasizes the importance of implementing quality improvement initiatives and provider training to increase respectful maternity care.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Report

Topic(s):

Health equity

What are the barriers to sustaining a safe sleep program for infants within hospital settings: An integrative review of the literature

Journal of Pediatric Nursing vol. 71

This article highlights the need for continued safe sleep practices within hospital settings, continuing education is needed for both families and staff, and education needs to fit the cultural context of each situation

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Research article

Topic(s):

Safe sleep

What, when, and how long? Doula time use in a community doula program in San Francisco, California

Women's Health vol. 19

Community doulas are increasingly promoted as an evidence-based intervention to advance birth equity. However, neither community doulas’ scope of work nor the distribution of time among their different work activities has been clearly defined or enumerated; therefore, this project sought to describe the work activities and time use of doulas in one community-based doula organization. This study calculated descriptive statistics for activities community doulas reported in their time diaries and each visit/interaction logged in the case management system.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Doulas

“My 9 to 5 Job Is Birth Work”: A Case Study of Two Compensation Approaches for Community Doula Care

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health vol. 18

This case study explores two different approaches for compensating doulas (contractor versus hourly employment with benefits) utilized by SisterWeb San Francisco Community Doula Network in San Francisco, California. This study conducted qualitative interviews with SisterWeb doulas in 2020 and 2021 and organizational leaders in 2020. This study study suggests that efforts to promote community doula care must integrate structural solutions to provide appropriate compensation and benefits to doulas, simultaneously advancing birth equity and equitable labor conditions for community doulas.

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Release Year:

2021

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Doulas

“They’re gonna be there to advocate for me so I’m not by myself”: A qualitative analysis of Black women’s motivations for seeking and experiences with community doula care

Women and Birth vol 36

Community doula support may improve birth outcomes and experiences, including lower rates of preterm birth and low birthweight and increases in positive birthing experiences. Few studies have explored client experiences with doula care, specifically community doula care. This study conducted two rounds of qualitative interviews with doula clients who identified as Black or Pacific Islander between August 2019 and March 2020. Interviews explored clients’ knowledge of, experiences with, and motivations for seeking doula care and their perceptions of the services they received.

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Release Year:

2023

Research Tag:

Study

Topic(s):

Doulas

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