Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Cochrane on Continuous Support During Childbirth

Cochrane; ePub 2017 Jul 6; Bohren, et al

Continuous support during labor may improve outcomes for both women and infants, including increased spontaneous vaginal birth, shorter duration of labor, and decreased cesarean birth, according to a recent Cochrane review. The review included 26 trials conducted in 17 countries and involving 15,858 women. 13 trials were conducted in high-income settings; 13 in middle-income settings; and no studies in low-income settings. Researchers found:

  • Women allocated to continuous support were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth and less likely to report negative ratings of or feelings about their childbirth experience, and to use any intrapartum analgesia.
  • Other benefits for women who received continuous support included shorter labors, less likely to have a cesarean birth or instrumental vaginal birth, regional analgesia, or having a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score.
  • No adverse outcomes of continuous labor support were found.


Bohren MA, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C, Fukuzawa RK, Cuthbert A. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6.