Evidently Advent Day 15: best health evidence wrapped up for the festive season!

Editor’s note: This post has been left available to view, as an example of our experiments with sharing evidence in creative ways, but please note that, unlike our normal blogs, it has not been updated and so may not represent the latest Cochrane evidence.

Through Advent we are anticipating the birth of a child. Are you?


Evidence from Cochrane reviews has shown that:

  •  Continuous support in labour increases the chances of a spontaneous vaginal birth and enhances women’s satisfaction
  •  Midwife-led care was associated with several benefits for mothers and babies and had no adverse effects, compared with medical-led and shared care, including fewer epidurals, episiotomies and the use of instruments such as forceps to assist the birth
  • Most methods of non-drug pain management are non-invasive and appear to be safe but we lack good evidence on how effective they are. There’s more evidence to support the efficacy of drugs but these have more adverse effects. The authors of this Cochrane overview of reviews concluded that women should feel free to choose whatever pain management they feel would help them most and to move from a non-drug to a drug intervention if needed
  • With high quality evidence that the timing of an epidural for pain relief in labour, early or late, has no effect on any outcomes (such as the likelihood of needing a caesarian section) timing can be decided by when the woman wishes for it
  • Upright positions (including walking, kneeling and standing) during the first stage of labour has benefits, including shortening the first stage and reducing the likelihood of needing a caesarian section or an epidural.

There’s so much evidence in the Cochrane Library that can help you with choices for your pregnancy and delivery. Find out more from the links below, search Cochrane Summaries and read our blogs here on pregnancy and childbirth topics.

Evidently Cochrane has been shortlisted as one of the top 10 health organization blogs in the UK Blog Awards 2015! Do explore the site – we hope there are blogs here to interest everyone. You can also follow us – and talk to us – on Twitter @ukcochranecentr and @SarahChapman30


Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub5 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD003766/PREG_continuous-support-for-women-during-childbirth#sthash.vGqcL7yV.dpuf

Sandall J, Soltani H, Gates S, Shennan A, Devane D. Midwife-led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD004667. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004667.pub3 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD004667/PREG_midwife-led-continuity-models-versus-other-models-of-care-for-childbearing-women#sthash.01k9Ssb3.dpuf

Jones L, Othman M, Dowswell T, Alfirevic Z, Gates S, Newburn M, Jordan S, Lavender T, Neilson J. Pain management for women in labour: an overview of systematic reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD009234. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009234.pub2 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD009234/PREG_pain-management-for-women-in-labour—an-overview#sthash.16HwmpNM.dpuf

Sng B, Leong W, Zeng Y, Siddiqui F, Assam PN, Lim Y, Chan ESY, Sia AT. Early versus late initiation of epidural analgesia for labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD007238. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007238.pub2 – See more at: http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD007238/PREG_early-versus-late-initiation-of-epidural-analgesia-for-labour#sthash.QeazKpuU.dpuf

Evidently Advent Day 15: best health evidence wrapped up for the festive season! by Sarah Chapman

is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *