Author(s): Scott KD, Berkowitz G, Klaus M
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Abstract Our goal was to contrast the influence of intermittent and continuous support provided by doulas during labor and delivery on 5 childbirth outcomes. Data were aggregated across 11 clinical trials by means of meta-analytic techniques. Continuous support, when compared with no doula support, was significantly associated with shorter labors (weighted mean difference -1.64 hours, 95\% confidence interval -2.3 to -.96) and decreased need for the use of any analgesia (odds ratio.64, 95\% confidence interval.49 to.85), oxytocin (odds ratio.29, 95\% confidence interval.20 to.40), forceps (odds ratio.43, 95\% confidence interval.28 to.65), and cesarean sections (odds ratio.49, 95\% confidence interval.37 to.65). Intermittent support was not significantly associated with any of the outcomes. Odds ratios differed between the 2 groups of studies for each outcome. Continuous support appears to have a greater beneficial impact on the 5 outcomes than intermittent support. Future clinical trials, however, will need to control for possible confounding influences. Implications for labor management are discussed.
This article was published in Am J Obstet Gynecol
and referenced in Journal of Health & Medical Informatics