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Repost: Do We Need a Cochrane Review to Tell Us that Women Should Move in Labor?

April 22nd, 2009 by avatar

This week, media outlets shared the news of a new Cochrane review that concludes upright positions are beneficial because they shorten labor by about one hour. The birth blogs have been buzzing about this, and the consensus is that we should feel delighted and vindicated to have the scientific evidence to prove what women and midwives have always known.

Cochrane reviews synthesize all of the research on a particular topic, and because the reviewers bring together and analyze all of the data from many studies, the study population gets very big. Big populations yield greater statistical power and often (but not always) more reliable findings.

Prior to this Cochrane review there was a large body of literature on movement in labor, including a good sized U.S. randomized controlled trial. There was even another systematic review! But this body of research never consistently supported the hypothesis that movement improved labor and birth outcomes. Now we have a Cochrane review, which is the gold standard for evidence-based practice.  So we can put the evidence-based “stamp of approval” on freedom of movement.

But, were we any less justified in endorsing freedom of movement before the Cochrane?

Read the full post and leave comments at The Giving Birth with Confidence Blog.

New Research, Science & Sensibility, Systematic Review , , ,

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