In February of 2017, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued an opinion statement on approaches to limiting interventions during labor. Among their recommendations and conclusions was that continuous one-on-one emotional support by support personnel (doulas!) benefits laboring women.
"Evidence suggests that, in addition to regular nursing care, continuous one-to-one emotional support provided by support personnel, such as a doula, is associated with improved outcomes for women in labor. Benefits found in randomized trials include shortened labor, decreased need for analgesia, fewer operative deliveries, and fewer reports of dissatisfaction with the experience of labor (1, 17). As summarized in a Cochrane evidence review, a woman who received continuous support was less likely to have a cesarean delivery (RR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.67–0.91) or a newborn with a low 5-minute Apgar score (fixed-effect, RR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.50–0.95) (1). Continuous support for a laboring woman that is provided by a nonmedical person also has a modest positive effect on shortening the duration of labor (mean difference –0.58 hours; 95% CI, –0.85 to –0.31) and improving the rate of spontaneous vaginal birth (RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.04–1.12) (1)."
This one-on-one emotional support, so valuable during labor and birth, is just as valuable in the first few weeks at home! As new parents adjust to new roles, new schedules, and new demands, a postpartum doula helps the whole family transition into their new "normal."
This week, doulas are being recognized and celebrated worldwide for their contributions to birthing and new families. World Doula Week begins every year on March 22, the Day of the Doula, and continues through March 28. This week, I want to say THANK YOU to all the wonderful doulas in my life, for all the loving support you provide to new and growing families!