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Doulas make a difference!

John Kennell, M.D., reports on a study in the May 1, 1991 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association which demonstrates the value of a doula, or a trained female labor companion.

616 women participated in the study at a public teaching hospital in Houston, Texas. The women were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one in which a doula was provided for each laboring woman, one in which an inconspicious, non-interactive observer was present with each woman, and the third with no additions (the control group).

The group of women assisted by a doula had only 8% cesareans, compared with 13% in the observed group and 18% in the control group. Women in the control group chose an epidural 55.3% of the time, compared with 23% from the observed group and only 8% of the women with active labor support. The observed and control groups also had more cases of maternal fever and more infants requiring longer hospital stays. Kennell concludes: "Providing labor support decreases the need for obstetric interventions, such as oxytocin augmentation, epidural anesthesia and cesarean deliveries, reducing the possibility of complications."

The authors of the study point out the financial and emotional benefits of providing doula care. Even the constant presence of an observer may have helped to reassure the mother and to discourage interventions.

--Reported in Newsweek, May 13, 1991 and the Clarion, Vol. 8, No. 1, July 1991.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:trained female labor companion
Publication:Special Delivery
Date:Sep 22, 1991
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