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Systematic review
Women who receive continuous support during labour have reduced risk of caesarean, instrumental delivery or need for analgesia compared to usual care
  1. Susan McDonald
  1. Midwifery Professorial Unit, La Trobe University/Mercy Hospital for Women, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Susan McDonald
    Midwifery Professorial Unit, Mercy Hospital for Women, 163 Studley Rd, Heidelberg, VIC 3083, Australia; S.mcdonald{at}latrobe.edu.au

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Commentary on: Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, et al. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2011;2:CD003766.

Implications for practice

  • Models of care supporting continuous support during labour were shown to be more likely to result in a spontaneous vaginal birth.

  • Women receiving continuous support required less analgesia and were less likely to report negative feelings about the birth experience.

  • Women receiving continuous support experienced shorter labours and their babies were less likely to have low 5-min Agpar scores. Therefore, such models of care should be considered for more extensive implementation in clinical practice settings.

Implications for nursing research

  • There is a need for further research in models of care which provide continuity of care and support to women during labour and birth.

  • Future studies should compare outcomes between different types of continuous support (eg, support provided by persons of the woman's choosing versus that provided by hospital staff) as well as the views of the people providing the support.

  • There is also a need to identify the cost for models of …

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