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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Labour Support Options

Research shows that labour support is important for women, not only in order to have a positive birth experience, it is equally important for a healthy birth outcome for both mother and baby.3 4 Continuous labour support has been shown to reduce stress, fear, and anxiety.4 It has also been shown to decrease labour interventions.3 4 “Have continuous support” is one of the Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices1.

 

Labour Support Options

There are many different labour support options available:

  • Partner
  • Family member
  • Friend
  • Birth doula

Doula

Birth doulas provide continuous, emotional and physical comfort, support and encouragement to mothers and their partners throughout their labour and birth experience.2 Using a doula is one of many ways to help your birth be the best birth for you.

A 2017 Cochrane Review of continuous labour support, "from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman's own network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training (such as a doula)"2 found the following outcomes for women and their babies2. They found no harms2:

Benefits for Women:

  • more spontaneous vaginal births
  • have shorter labours
  • fewer caesarean births
  • fewer assisted vaginal births (forceps or vacuum)
  • greater satisfaction with their birth experiences
 

Benefits for Babies:

  • less likely to have low five-minute Apgar scores at birth.

Doula services are not covered by Ontario's Health Insurance, however, they may be covered by private insurance. Some doulas may also offer decreased fees based on ability to pay.

Doulas can provide support during several different times of life transitions. For more information about doulas or to find a certified doula in London or Middlesex County please go to the following websites:

 
Date of creation: February 19, 2015
Last modified on: June 11, 2019
 
 

References

1Healthy Birth Practice 3: Bring a loved one, friend or doula for continuous support. (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://www.lamaze.org/childbirth-practices
2Bohren, M. A., Hofmeyr, G. J., Sakala, C., Fukuzawa, R. K., & Cuthbert, A. (2017). Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (7). Retrieved from
http://www.cochrane.org/CD003766/PREG_continuous-support-women-during-childbirth
3World Health Organization. (2018, February). WHO recommendations: intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience. Retrieved from
http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/intrapartum-care-guidelines/en/
4Bonapace, J., Gagné, G., Chaillet, N., Gagnon, R., Hébert, E., & Buckley, S. (2018). No. 355-Physiologic Basis of Pain in Labour and Delivery: An Evidence-Based Approach to its Management. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 40(2), 227-245.