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J Perinat Educ. 2004 Spring;13(2):16-22.

#3: continuous labor support.

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C arol S akala is Director of Programs at the Maternity Center Association (MCA) and leads MCA's long-term, national Maternity Wise™ program to promote evidence-based maternity care. Sakala is also co-author of the newly reconstructed Cochrane Review on continuous labor support.


In this position paper-one of six care practice papers published by Lamaze International and reprinted here with permission-the benefit of continuous labor support is discussed and presented as an evidence-based practice that helps promote, protect, and support normal birth. The paper is written for childbearing women and their families. Women with continuous support are less likely to have a cesarean, an instrument delivery, and regional anesthesia. They are also less likely to report dissatisfaction with or negatively rate their childbirth experience. The value of the doula for both the laboring woman and her labor partner is discussed. The accompanying commentary-written by a leading proponent of maternity care practices-supports evidence that promotes continuous labor support. Lamaze International encourages women to plan for a supportive birth environment that includes continuous support.

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