The role of the interpreter/doula in the maternity setting

Nurs Womens Health. 2012 Dec;16(6):472-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-486X.2012.01775.x.


Health care organizations often struggle with issues related to communication with patients who have limited English proficiency. Providing quality interpreter services is necessary to comply with regulatory mandates and to provide safe, effective health care. Maternity care presents a unique situation due to the intimate and unpredictable nature of birth. A unique interpreter/doula program in which trained medical interpreters received additional education in labor and postpartum doula skills was tested at a large urban hospital maternity center with a large population of Spanish-speaking patients. Results showed that interpreter/doulas can offer timely, competent care in a variety of maternity situations. They also were cost-effective and associated with increased patient and staff satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Communication Barriers*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Doulas / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal-Child Nursing / economics
  • Maternal-Child Nursing / methods*
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional Role*
  • Translating