Strategy

Companionship

Health professionals will decide on the modification of existing systems, structures, or tasks to offer women and their relatives the possibility of having a companion of choice during labour.

In 2018, WHO published recommendations for a positive birth experience, which included a recommendation on emotional support during labour and delivery. If a pregnant woman is accompanied by a family member or a trusted person, fears of childbirth can be reduced and medically unjustified Caesarean sections can be avoided.

Following these recommendations, the Quali-Dec team decided to introduce the subject of companions (spouse, family, doula) into the spatial, material and educational planning of the local teams.

The companionship is implemented in participating healthcare facility using a tailored labour companionship model which includes information on: (i) eligibility criteria for women and companions; (ii) identification of health care providers who invite the chosen and eligible labour companion from the waiting area to the labour room; (iii) identification of healthcare providers who deliver the messages to the laboring woman and her companion; (iv) how many people are allowed, and when they are allowed to act as a companions; (v) how the labour ward may need design modifications to the physical space to accommodate a companion; and (vi) educational tools for companions on how to support women during labour and birth.

More ressources on companionship and how to implement it :
Video on labour companionship from WHO Reproductive Health Library: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ2mWJat5lU