What the research says….

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WHO recommendations and evaluation of world wide studies

Women allocated to continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal birth  and less likely to receive intrapartum analgesia or to report dissatisfaction. In addition, they had shorter duration of labour, they were less likely to have caesarean section or instrumental vaginal birth, regional analgesia, or a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score

Although it is virtually impossible to determine the “ideal” form of continuous intrapartum support, benefits seems to be the greatest when labour support is provided by a doula

A randomized controlled trial of continuous labor support for middle-class couples: effect on cesarean delivery rates. McGrath SK, Kennell JH

The doula group had a significantly lower cesarean delivery rate than the control group , and fewer women in the doula group received epidural analgesia . Among women with induced labor, those supported by a doula had a lower rate of cesarean delivery than those in the control group. On questionnaires the day after delivery, 100 percent of couples with doula support rated their experience with the doula positively.

A randomized control trial of continuous support in labor by a lay doula. Campbell DA, Lake MF, Falk M, Backstrand JR

Significantly shorter length of labor in the doula group, greater cervical dilation at the time of epidural anesthesia, and higher Apgar scores at both 1 and 5 minutes