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Historically, women have been supported and attended by other women during the births of their children. In many countries today, labouring women are, however, not permitted to bring a companion. One-to-one support by hospital staff or lay support persons is also rare because of work load and policies at the birth clinics. Support in labour may reduce anxiety and stress, which has a negative effect on the childbirth experience and also on course of labour. It can also buffer stressful effects of harsh conditions in the birth environment.
This is an updated systematic review in The Cochrane Library summarising results of 21 controlled trials, including 15 061 women randomly allocated to continuous labour support or usual care. The review incorporates trials from all continents except Asia, with disparate hospital routines and conditions. Continuous labour support is defined as continuous presence …
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