Research on the Benefit of Doula Support

 If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it – Dr. John H Kennell

The Cochrane Database recently completed a systematic review of the benefits of having a doula as a birth assistant, it included the results of 21 different randomised controlled studies including 15061 women.
You are able to read more about this review here.
An overview of the findings are:
Of the women who had continuous support (doula support) it was found that they:
  • Were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births
  • Less likely to have medical pain relief
  • Less likely to feel negative about their birth experience
  • Labours were shorter
  • Less likely to have a caesarean or instrumental (forceps/ventuous vacuum) birth
  • More likely to have a baby with an Apgar score of 5 or more
  • It was suggested that support was most effective when offered from someone who was not hospital staff or part of the woman’s social network (ie a doula)

The authors conclusion is that “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“.