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Having a doula’s support during childbirth was linked to an almost 60% reduction in the likelihood of a woman giving birth by c-section.

Published previously in the American Journal of Managed Care, the figure rises to 80% for non-medically indicated c-sections.

The researchers analysed the results of pre-existing medical surveys, detailing singleton births that took place in a US hospital between 2011 and 2012.

A growing evidence base suggests that continuous labour support confers measurable clinical benefits to both mother and baby. Continuous labour support is the care, guidance, and encouragement provided by those who are with a pregnant woman in labour that aims to support labour physiology and mothers’ feelings of control and participation in decision making during childbirth.

In a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials, women who received continuous labour support reported greater satisfaction, had higher rates of spontaneous vaginal birth, higher infant Apgar scores, shorter labours and lower rates of regional anaesthesia, cesarean deliveries and forceps or vacuum deliveries.

While many different individuals can and commonly do provide continuous labour support (including obstetric nurses, husbands and partners, close friends, and family members), the strongest results were achieved when continuous labour support was provided by someone who was not part of the woman’s family or social network or employed by the hospital.

A Doula is a trained professional who provides continuous, one-on-one emotional and informational support during the perinatal period. They are not medical professionals and do not provide medical services, but work alongside nurses, obstetricians, midwives, and other healthcare providers.

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  • If that’s what floats your boat, go do it. I personally found that having a caring nurse/midwife in the delivery room was the best ever – and I had my last baby, who was supposed to be a C-section birth due to my having an emergency C-section with his older sister, quite naturally. This nurse talked me through it and I needed no medications and by the time my gyno arrived I was nursing a very happy baby – the largest of all my brood.

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  • I have friends who used a doula. I didn’t bother but my friends swear by it.

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  • So grateful I had a doula for the birth of my second son! With her help I was able to have a vbac with nothing other than gas for pain relief! She was a great support for me – especially in the lead up to the birth, in thinking through my emotions and birth plan and of course on the day (days) of the labour and birth.

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  • I wonder how extensive the research has been in other countries. Will It stop procedures being required? I doubt it.

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  • They have no medical training, so unless you were in a position of having no support, I can’t see the benefit of having one. I was lucky and had my partner with me both times, so if any decisions were to be made, both of us could do it.

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  • I think it would be wonderful if people could afford a doula.
    A doula wouldn’t have stopped me requiring a c section though

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  • They are probably a lot calmer and encouraging than busy nursing staff that don’t have to time to do just that. Staff “run” between patients and probably makes the Mum nervous and unable to relax as much as she otherwise would.

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  • Mothers should go with whatever they feel is going to make pregnancy and childbirth a better journey for them.

    Reply

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