At a recent initial meet & greet I was asked what the statistics of having a doula present were. I knew that the statistics were out there, but I didn't have the exact numbers and I didn't want to rattle off any bogus statistics.
I knew that the 1993 study done by Klaus, Klaus, Kennel, et. al showed that using a doula reduced a woman's chance of having a C-section delivery by 50% and that it shortened labor by 25%. BUT, I also know that many people in the medical field took issue with those numbers saying that they were not relevant findings. For instance, the the shortened labor was by 26 minutes, and the study group was said by some to not be a large enough group to get an accurate outcome.
Whew... all of that to say, I did my research and will not be found tongue tied again when the question arises. Here are the statistics taken from a study of 8052 women.
Women cared for during labor by a birth doula, compared to those receiving usual care were:
- 26% less likely to give birth by cesarean section
- 41% less likely to give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
- 28% less likely to use any pain medications
- 33% less likely to be dissatisfied with or negatively rate their birth experience (Hodnett and colleagues 2004)