Studies PROVE Doulas Make a Difference!

I've shared before links to some of the information about how doulas can benefit moms, and studies done to verify this wonderful claim.

Cochrane report:

Twenty-one trials involving 15061 women met inclusion criteria and provided usable outcome data. Results are of random-effects analyses, unless otherwise noted. Women allocated to continuous support were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth (RR 1.08, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.12) and less likely to have intrapartum analgesia (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.84 to 0.97) or to report dissatisfaction (RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.79). In addition their labours were shorter (mean difference -0.58 hours, 95% CI -0.86 to -0.30), they were less likely to have a caesarean (RR 0.79, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.92) or instrumental vaginal birth (fixed-effect, RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.84 to 0.96), regional analgesia (RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.88 to 0.99), or a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score (fixed-effect, RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.96). There was no apparent impact on other intrapartum interventions, maternal or neonatal complications, or on breastfeeding. Subgroup analyses suggested that continuous support was most effective when provided by a woman who was neither part of the hospital staff nor the woman's social network, and in settings in which epidural analgesia was not routinely available. No conclusions could be drawn about the timing of onset of continuous support.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS:
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.

BetterBirthDoula.orgSo to summarize - moms with a doula are more likely to:

* Have a spontaneous vaginal birth (vs. induction or cesarean.)
* Not use analgesics.
* Be satisfied with their birth experience.
* Have shorter labors.
* Less likely to have cesarean.
* Less likely to have instrument assisted birth (forceps or vacuum.)
* More likely to give birth without an epidural.
* Have babies with higher Apgar scores.

Here's the PDF of the study.

So remember! "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."

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