"Research shows that if a woman has another woman with her during labour and birth she has less need for pain-relieving drugs and her labour is shorter. There are fewer operative deliveries (forceps, vacuum extractor and Caesarean sections) and episiotomies. Babies are in better condition at birth, and mothers are much more likely to look back on the birth as a positive experience. Studies have also revealed that these women have fewer perineal lacerations, are more likely to be breastfeeding at six weeks, and are less likely to be depressed.
"Ten randomized controlled trials that involved 3,000 women in childbirth who did not even know their companions before they went into labour have confirmed the benefits of having a support person. The constant presence of a birth companion who is focused on your needs has turned out to be one of the most effective forms of childbirth care... Women have always had other women with them [during labor]. In medieval Europpe women birth companions were known as 'God sibs' -- literally, 'sisters in God.' ... Having not only your partner but also [a woman] whom you know and trust, and whom you have selected, helps you relax and increases s"