Are mothers receiving support from others during labor?

In our blog post, “Why Avoiding a Primary Cesarean Matters,” we discussed a report from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) titled, “Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery.“ In the report ACOG suggested that increasing women’s access to nonmedical interventions while in labor, including continuous support, could help address the overuse of cesareans. Here we will examine the national survey, Listening to Mothers III, to see if women feel they are receiving this support.

For the most part, the answer is yes; 99% of women reported that they received some type of supportive care during labor. Supportive care may include providing physical comfort measures, emotional support, and addressing the woman’s needs, concerns, and questions. Women reported that this care came mostly from a husband or partner (77%) or the nursing staff (46%). Other reported sources of supportive care were another family member or friend (37%), a doctor (31%), a midwife (10%), a doula (6%), or some other person (3%).

It was not specified if these reported sources of supportive care provided continuous support during labor. The use of birth doulas, trained labor assistants who provide continuous supportive care, is growing in popularity in the United States. In the report mentioned above, ACOG states, “Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.” According to LtM III, only 6% of mothers received supportive care from a birth doula in 2012, however 75% of mothers who did not receive care from a doula had heard about doulas. Of these mothers who did not use a doula, 59% had a clear understanding of a doula’s role and 27% indicated that they would have liked to have had doula care. tutu app pokemon go ios

Check out our news section in which we highlight a recent Huffington Post article that summarizes a study which analyzed data obtained from the Listening to Mothers III survey about the use, understanding, and desire to hire doulas and the associated outcomes of doula care. This study found that, “[doulas] substantially lower women’s odds of having a cesarean section that isn’t medically necessary.”

Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will explore the role of doulas in more depth.