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A comprehensive study of 13,000 women published in the third quarterly issue of The Cochrane Library found that women who receive supportive care from a companion throughout labor are more likely than women without such care to avoid cesarean birth and other major medical interventions and to be satisfied with their birth experience. The study, "Continuous Support for Women during Childbirth," was carried out through the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration.
Overall, the study found that women who received continuous labor support were less likely to experience:
-- Epidural or other regional analgesia
-- Any analgesia or anesthesia, including epidurals and opioids (rate reduced by 28%)
-- Birth with vacuum extraction or forceps (rate reduced by 41%)
-- Birth by cesarean (rate reduced by 26%)
-- Dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their birth experience (rate reduced by 36%)
It was also found that the type of person providing care could make a difference in the impact of this care. Effects were stronger when the person was not a member of the hospital staff and was an outsider, present solely to provide one-to-one supportive care. The authors concluded that all women should have support throughout labor and birth.