Welcome to Pickles and Ice Cream Birth Support Services, supporting women, couples and families across the Surf Coast, Geelong and surrounding areas.

Women have traditionally played an important role in the pregnancy, labour and birth of other women’s babies, providing vital support and care in the process. Today, with the decrease in family size and an increase in hospital births, this kind of continuous support is becoming more and more rare.

In 2012, a review of studies that includes 23 trials from 16 countries, found that the kind of support provided by a doula enhanced the “physiologic labour processes as well as women’s feelings of control and competence, and thus reduce the need for obstetric intervention …

We conclude that all women should have a continuous support during labour. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman’s social network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training appears to be most beneficial.”

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Sixteen studies (randomised controlled trials) carried out in several different countries, consistently found that having continuous doula support during childbirth has a positive impact on labour and birth.

Some of these benefits include:

• less pain medication requested by mother (60% reduction in epidural use);
• 50% reduction in c-sections and 40% reduction in forceps deliveries;
• length of labour reduced by up to 25%;
• greater feelings of satisfaction about the birth experience;
• decreased likelihood that the mother reported feeling tense in labour, or feeling that labour was worse than she had expected;

From A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth, Enkin et al, Oxford University Press, US, 3rd edition, 2000.