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Mothers' Perceptions of Labor Support

Nikula, Pirkko RN; Laukkala, Helena MA; Pölkki, Tarja PhD, RN

MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: November/December 2015 - Volume 40 - Issue 6 - p 373–380
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000190

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe mothers' perceptions of labor support during childbirth.

Study Design and Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational survey design was used. Data were collected using the Bryanton Adaptation of Nursing Support in Labor Questionnaire (BANSILQ) completed by new mothers (n = 260) in the postnatal ward in a Finnish university hospital. Nonparametric methods were used for data analysis.

Results: Mothers perceived emotional assistance to be most important. From the list of midwives' labor support behaviors provided in the survey, the following were considered most helpful: giving praise, treating on an individual basis, and answering questions truthfully and understandably.

Clinical Implications: Emotional, tangible, and informational labor support enhanced the mothers' birth experiences. Labor support should be provided when caring for every mother during childbirth. An evidence-based model of labor support should be used for nursing and midwifery education and clinical practice.

This study of new mothers offers valuable information for those who care for women during labor and birth. New mothers really appreciated labor support and valued emotional support above other types of support. Giving praise was identified as one of the most important aspects of helping a woman cope with the process of labor.

Pirkko Nikula is a Midwife, Department of Obstetric and Gynaecology, Oulu University Hospital, Finland. The author can be reached via e-mail at

Helena Laukkala is a Lecturer, Department of Research Methodology, University of Lapland, Finland.

Tarja Pölkki is an Adjunct Professor, Institute of Health Sciences, University of Oulu, Finland.

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The authors have no financial or personal interests in products mentioned in the manuscript or any other conflicts of interest.

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