Continuous Labour Support - Part II

Continuous Labour Support - Part II

  Autor Oana Melinte Moraru, Certified Lamaze Educator Data: 20.10.2006

Continuous Labour Support - Part II

Researches on the continuous support

Researches on the benefits of the continuous support provided by doulas during labour are impressive. According to the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, an information source based on the evidence respected worldwide, researches show that providing ongoing support to women during labour and birth is clearly beneficial. Compared with women who received usual care, women with continuous support are less likely to:

- Have a caesarean birth;
- Give birth assisted by forceps or vacuum;
- Use regional analgesia (e.g. epidural);
- Use any type of analgesia (pain medication) and
- Report negative rates of lack of the satisfaction regarding birth experience.

Cochrane authors also found that the results were better when support was provided by external parties (with or without special training) who were present to provide special support, than when support was provided by hospital staff such as nurses, midwives or student midwives. Reviewers have commented on the characteristics of modern hospitals that are organized, and becoming a real challenge for the hospital staff to provide continuous support in labour.

Labour doula and the partner

Most partners want to participate in the birth of their children and provide support for their loved ones. However, most men and some women have little experience, if any, in terms of birth. As the contractions increase in intensity, and the woman in labour struggles with pain, the partner may become frightened. He or she may not have experience on how exactly labour results. It is becoming increasingly difficult for partners to reassure women in labour.

Most partners breathe sigh of relief e when an experienced woman is present and can provide reassurance about the labour that takes place as it should. A good doula takes the cues from the labour partner. If your partner stays close to you, holds your hand and provides visual contact and words of encouragement, doula will not interfere in the intimate relationship between you two. Instead, she will provide invaluable support and encouragement for both you and your partner.

However, if you need additional support, doula will work with your partner to give back or foot massage while the partner keeps visual contact and offers encouraging words. Or doula can suggest a change of activity, such as a bathroom or a warm shower or a walk on the corridors. The doula can show your partner how to make an effective counter pressure or massage. Doula can also provide support while your partner takes a break for going to the bathroom or to eat something.

Plans for ongoing support

A friend or relative experience in terms of birth may be willing to offer continuous support for you and your partner. These women do not need special training as a doula, as long as they have confidence in your ability to birth and are willing to stay with you continuously during labour.

However, many women hire a doula today to ensure that they receive continuous emotional and physical support during labour and birth.

Once you have chosen a doula, you will plan at least one prenatal visit to discuss with her the type of birth that you and your partner hope to have. Comfort measures that are important to you, including medications, must be shared with the doula. Some maternity hospitals offer doula services to all or some of their customers.

Recommendations from Lamaze International

Lamaze International joins the World Health Organization in recognition of the value of continuous support as the key element of normal birth.

Lamaze believes that all women should have access to continuous support during labour, without financial or cultural barriers.

Lamaze encourages all women to plan an environment that includes continuous emotional, physical and informational support.

A woman who supports you, experienced in terms of birth, may have a unique contribution to your care during labour and birth, because she is dedicated and will stick with you and your family continuously, her knowledge of physical and emotional comfort measures, and her confidence in your ability to give birth will really sustain you.

Read the English version of this article: Continuous Labour Support - Part II