Optimal continuous support accompanying labor-the midwives' and laboring women's point of view

Maya Frank Wolf, Oleg Shnaider, Limor Sharabi, Sari Nahir Biderman, Reut Elon, Jacob Bornstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Women who have continuous intrapartum support are more likely to have a shorter labor and spontaneous vaginal birth, and are less likely to need intrapartum analgesia than women who receive usual care without support. We aimed to determine what women in labor and midwives regard as the optimal number of labor supporters and whether they should be present during medical interventions. Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to midwives participating in a national midwifery conference in June 2015. In addition, an anonymized questionnaire concerning the preferred number and type of supporters was distributed to laboring women at the beginning of labor and repeated post-partum in the maternity unit of a single tertiary medical center between March 2017 and January 2018. Results: Of 124 midwives from 18 hospitals throughout Israel attending the conference, 92 (74%) completed the questionnaire. Eighty-three percent of the midwives who responded felt that more than two supporters interferes with their work. Eighty percent of the midwives work in obstetrical units that allow up to two labor supporters, and 82% of them felt that one or two supporters is optimal. Similarly, of the 140 laboring women surveyed, 84% preferred one or two supporters. There was no difference in the preferred number of supporters between the maternal pre- A nd post-partum questionnaires. The laboring women and midwives had differing opinions regarding supporter presence during vacuum extraction and perineal suture. Sixty-four percent of the midwives preferred that the supporter not be present during vacuum extraction, and 45% of them preferred that the supporter not be present during perineal suture. In contrast, among the laboring women, 78% preferred supporter presence during vacuum extraction, 76% during perineal suture and 74% during vaginal examination. Interestingly, even among the midwives, 82% preferred that the supporter remain during vaginal examination and 84% preferred the supporter remain during medical rounds. Conclusions: Serious consideration should be given to restricting the number of labor supporters to two, as both laboring woman and midwives consider that to be the optimal number. In light of the difference of opinion regarding presence of supporters during certain medical procedures, additional surveys concerning the points of view of obstetricians and laboring women in additional hospitals should be considered before establishing a national policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Accompanying labor, birth
  • Continuous intrapartum support
  • Labor
  • Midwives


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