“All women should have support throughout labor and birth. Women who have continuous intrapartum support one-to-one are less likely to have intrapartum anagesia, ceasarean birth, operative birth, or to report dissatisfaction with their child birth experiences and more likely to have spontaneous vaginal birth…a support person (doula) present during labor is associated with decreased use of anagesia, decreased incidence of operative birth, increased incidence of spontaneous vaginal delivery, and increased maternal satisfaction in 15 trials, including 12,791 women. The most effective form of support starts early in labor, is continuous, and is not provided by a member of the hospital staff. The mother should be encouraged to select her doula during pregnancy; they establish a relationship (which is likely to involve the woman’s partner, if any) and discuss the mother’s and partner’s preference and concerns before labor. The doula brings her experience and training to the labor support role during childbirth, and the mother and doula frequently have telephone and/or face-to-face contact in the early postpartum period.”
~ Obstetric Evidence Based Guidelines 2007 by Vincenzo Berhella, M.D.