Women happier with childbirth when accompanied
NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters) Women who go through labor and childbirth with a companion of their choice are more satisfied with the experience, and the care they receive, than women wh deliver alone, Brazilian researchers report.
Furthermore, the presence of a companion did not create any safety issues, In fact, women with a companion on hand were about half as likely as unaccompanied women to have amniotic fluid stained with fetal stool -- meconium -- which can be dangerous to infants if it is inhaled.
While having a companion to provide support during labor and delivery is accepted practice in much of the world, many health facilities do not allow companions or discourage their presence, Dr Odalea M Bruggemann of the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianopolis and her colleagues note. This is especially common in the developing world, they add.
Bruggemann and her team randomly assigned 212 women to solo labor or labor with a companion of their choice, to compare childbirth experiences.
About half of the accompanied woman (47 per cent) chose their partner or the child's father, while 30 per cent chose their mother and 23 percent chose another female relative or a friend.
The women who received support from a companion were significantly more satisfied with labor and delivery than those who went through childbirth alone. They were eight times more likely to be satisfied with their labor experience and nearly six times as likely to be satisfied with delivery.
The accompanied women were also more satisfied with their medical care and medical guidance during labor and delivery.
''Perhaps because there was someone else in the room, medical staff were more forthcoming and user-friendly than when no support person was present,'' the researchers note in their report in the online journal Reproductive Health.
Women with companions were 49 per cent less likely to have amniotic fluid stained with meconium than women who delivered on their own. This may have been because they were less anxious and fearful, Bruggemann and her team suggest.
''If on one hand there is a general belief that a labor companion has always positive effects, there are, on the other hand, still a lot of health facilities where companions are not allowed, especially in developing settings,'' the researchers write. ''It is expected that the results of this study could help providers to acknowledge and respect women's rights during birth.'' REUTERS SKB ND0845