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Labor doula care for survivors of sexual violence

Haen, Lisa Sophia (2018) Labor doula care for survivors of sexual violence. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Objective: The goal of this study was to identify how labor doula care can support women who have experienced past sexual abuse in coping with trauma-related challenges and barriers during childbirth and avoid re-traumatization.

Methods: Three in-depth, face-to-face interviews with labor doulas were conducted. The interviews were transcribed and coded. The data aligned with the five key themes of the Good Birth framework which are personal security, knowledge, connectedness, respect, and agency. This framework was applied post-hoc for the analysis.

Results: Participants gave comprehensive insights as to how continuous labor support as provided by doulas can assist survivors of sexual violence cope with and mitigate trauma-related challenges, triggers and barriers during childbirth. The five key themes of the Good Birth framework categorized the doulas’ non-medical scope of practice which can improve birth experiences and outcomes for survivors of sexual violence. The significance of patient-led disclosure as well as the current status quo of the maternity care system was also discussed.

Conclusions: Birth experiences and maternal satisfaction can be facilitated through labor doula care which may enhance a survivor of sexual assault’s personal security, knowledge, connectedness, respect and agency. The public health significance of this research is that it examines labor doula support for survivors of sexual violence and how this form of nonmedical assistance can mitigate and buffer the impact of trauma-related challenges, in an effort to decrease adverse birth outcomes affecting survivors of sexual violence and their children.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Haen, Lisa Sophialisa.haen@pitt.edulih72
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha
Committee MemberHawk,
Committee MemberWinter,
Committee MemberGutschow,
Date: 30 January 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 December 2017
Approval Date: 30 January 2018
Submission Date: 27 November 2017
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: labor doula; continuous labor support; survivors of sexual violence; sexual abuse; sexual violence; birth support; doula
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2018 22:36
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2019 06:15


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