The Evidence for Doulas
Benefits of Continuous Labor Support
31% decrease in the use of Pitocin*
28% decrease in the risk of C-section*
12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth*
9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience*
* results with a doula were better than all the other types of continuous support that were studied. For the other outcomes, there was no difference between types of continuous support.
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What is the bottom line about labor support?
"The most recent and largest systematic review of continuous labor support summarizes the experiences of over 15,000 women who participate in 21 randomized controlled trials. the actors conclude: Continuous support during labour has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm. All women should have support throughout labour and birth (Hodnett and colleagues 2011)"
What factors most contribute to women's satisfaction in childbirth?
"In considering whether to make arrangements for labor support, it may be helpful to consider results of research about satisfaction in childbirth. A systematic review of the best available research (Hodnett 2002) found that the following four factors made the greatest contribution to women's satisfaction in childbirth:
having good support from caregivers
having a high-quality relationship with caregivers
being involved in decision-making about care
having better-than-expecte experiences or having high expectations"