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New survey shows Doulas have a significant impact upon breastfeeding and birth

22 March 2012 No Comment

Today, Thursday 22nd March, is the first day of the Word Doula Week and to mark the start of this event, a new study has shown that births with doula support have more chance of successful breastfeeding and a lower chance of intervention during labour.

The survey gathered data from 105 doulas and their 1,206 clients births across a range of critical birth-related areas. The most significant figures came in the areas of intervention during the birth and breastfeeding.

Doula UK has over 500 members and represents the largest number of doulas in the UK. Its doulas work with women and their families to help them prepare for the birth, through exploring their options, helping them make informed choices and providing support as they adjust to their new lives with a new born.

The survey showed of the doula supported families, 93 per cent attempted to breastfeed, with 70 per cent still exclusively breastfeeding after six weeks. These figures are significantly higher than the latest statistics from the Department of Health, where 74.1 per cent of new mums attempt breastfeeding with only 47 per cent still exclusively breastfeeding at six weeks.

Another interesting statistic found during the survey was only 12 per cent of the doula supported births required medical intervention, such as ventouse or forceps or Caesarean, compared to the latest national figures of 37.3 per cent.

Bridget Baker, Board Member and Head of Doula Mentoring at Doula UK, said: “Our survey findings echo previous research in to the substantial benefits of doula support during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. The results show that when women and their partners are well informed about breastfeeding, are signposted to good resources and have someone to turn to who is there to listen and offer unconditional support there are significant improvements in breastfeeding success rates.

“Elsewhere, the survey found that the frequency of medical interventions, that many women wish to avoid, decrease by over 25% in births supported by doulas. Though our doulas support any kind of birth and are not there to change outcomes it is startling that when women have this experienced and continuous support available to them during labour, they are much less likely to require serious interventions like Caesarean sections.

“Whatever path a birth takes our doulas always work with the midwives and other medical professionals to ensure that parents are kept fully informed about the choices that are available. This allows parents to confidently make decisions with which they are comfortable with in a nurturing and positive environment.”

To findout more about doulas and their network visit Doula UK or to find out more about World Doula Week which coincides with the spring equinox, where in a number of cultures this represents the return of fertility,  visit World Doula Week’s site.

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