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expert-perspectives

Thinking differently about measuring quality and improving the use of cesarean delivery

Over the past couple of years, there has been increased media attention to a couple of trends. First, there has been a recognition in the fields of public health and maternal and child health that the rapidly increasing rates of cesarean delivery were concerning. The rate of cesareans hit an all-time high of nearly 33% in 2009, and a number of high profile efforts – including the federal Healthy People 2020 goals – set goals for reversing this trending and reducing rates of both primary and repeat cesareans.

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expert-perspectives

Supporting mothers for better births – doula care for low-income women in Minnesota and beyond

Katy Kozhimannil and her children

It stands to reason that pregnant women with strong, steady support during labor and delivery have better birth experiences. Indeed, a 2012 Cochrane review conclusively finds that continuous labor support is associated with a number of positive outcomes for moms and babies and cites no known adverse effects. These effects are most consistent when labor support is provided by someone who isn’t a friend or family member, and not a member of the hospital staff – someone like a doula.

A doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and after birth. Unlike physicians, midwives, and obstetrical nurses who provide medical care, a doula provides support in the nonmedical aspects of labor and delivery.

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