Pioneer Of Mother-Baby Bonding Research Dies

Among childbirth advocates and educators, the death of Dr. John Hawks Kennell is truly notable.



An early researcher on the health benefits of immediate physical contact between a mother and her newborn, Kennell, a professor emeritus of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine and a former chief resident at Children’s Hospital Boston, is also largely credited with launching the modern doula movement.

His pioneering studies (the most influential research was published in JAMA in 1991) found that women who have the continuous support of a doula, essentially a trained round-the-clock companion during labor and delivery, are far less likely to have a cesarean section or other medical interventions, like epidurals. Continue reading