Lamaze Healthy Birth Practice: Bring a Loved One, Friend or Doula for Continuous Support


Adapted from Giving Birth with Confidence, 3rd Edition

Humans, unlike other mammals, don’t naturally labor alone. Why? Because our upright posture makes it more difficult for a baby to move through the pelvis. The position changes that help our babies rotate and descend often require physical help. And in childbirth, as in many aspects of life, we humans do better when we’re surrounded by those we trust, people who tell us we’re doing well and encourage us forward. 

According to Sheila Kitzinger, “Woman-to-woman help in childbirth is the norm almost everywhere in the world.” The United States is one glaring exception. When U.S. birth moved from home to hospital, laboring people lost the valuable support their ancestors had enjoyed — and people in other countries continue to enjoy. 

Two systematic reviews of research found that compared to those who receive typical hospital care, people who receive continuous, one-to-one support throughout labor are less likely to request pain medication or use Pitocin during labor, are less likely to have a cesarean and more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth, and are more satisfied with their births and less likely to have severe pain in the days after the birth. 

Learn more information about the benefits of continuous support in labor, including who best to support you, and what good support looks like:

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