What are the benefits of having a doula?
A 2013 Cochrane Review by Hodnett et al. which looked at trials involving over 15,000 women, found that when continuous labour support was provided by a Doula, women experienced a:
· decrease in the risk of a caesarean
· increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
· decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
· decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with their birth experience
Women supported by doulas were found to experience shorter labours, were less likely to need an epidural, less likely to need an instrumental birth with vacuum or forceps and the babies to have higher Apgar scores at birth.
Interestingly, the research found that continuous labour support from a doula produced better outcomes compared to support from a hospital employee.