A reviewed of fourteen trials involving more that 10,000 women, demonstrated the most supportive reasons for the use of having a doula (birth support) in labour care. A systematic review by the Cochrane library found that;
Research benefits of having a doula
“The continuous presence of a support person reduced the likelihood of medication for pain relief, operative vaginal delivery, caesarean delivery, and a 5-minute Apgar score less than 7. Continuous support was also associated with a slight reduction in the length of labour. Six trials evaluated the effects of support on mothers’ views of their childbirth experiences; while the trials used different measures….in each trial the results favoured the group who had received continuous support” (Hodnett, 2003).
The importance of having a positive birth experience
The research recognises that a positive birth experience for a women is very important. Negative birth experiences during labour and birth effects the woman after birth. Not surprising since labour and birth is an intense emotional event that a woman experiences. It is paramount to support a woman during this event in her life by reducing fear and providing her with adequate emotional, physical and educational support in preparation and during labour and birth;
“Research provides powerful evidence of improved outcomes for mothers and babies when mothers are supported in labor……..increased maternal satisfaction with the birthing process, and much more” (Sauls, 2002).
A review of the evidence.
There are many articles published that demonstrate similar results. A review by Klaus, Kennell and Klaus (1993) concluded the following;
- 25% reduction in shorter labour
- 50% reduction on caesarean rates
- 30% reduction on the use of analgesia usage
- 60% reduction on the request for an epidural
- 40% reduction on the use of syntocinon
- 40% reduction on the use of forceps delivery