Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Birth Environment

After being involved with my local hospital planning a new Maternity unit, it got me thinking about birth environment.
I went round a couple of years ago with the NCT Better Birth environment toolkit and as a Doula I have been at births in quite a few hospitals in the NW of England.
I often feel that so much more could be done to improve the environment.
Whilst I am a committed advocate for birthing at home, some women are just not ready to choose this option.
Things have improved slightly with 'Home from Home' rooms and midwife led units, but hospital is never going to be home and so often these rooms look like cheap hotel rooms
There is no real commitment to design that facilitates physiological birth or reduces fear and pain and I have felt for a long time, much more could be done than the installation of disco balls!
To this end I have organised a Design collaboration and we will be exhibiting at FACT in Liverpool in March and May-

A Space to give birth in* First of Two workshops within Climate of Change at FACT
Come to Watch - Breathe Talk + Do
There is a room made between the instinctive body and hospital practice where babies arrive. We are interested to design proposals to develop ways in which that space can help birth preparation, labour and recovery.
WATCH - Birth Matters- a Short film created by Nadine Edwards from the charity AIMS (association for improvements in Maternity services)
BREATHE- Group workshop and display of yoga, movement and breathing to facilitate birth by Doula Jenni Jones
TALK - contribute to our process by sharing your experiences or recommendations for spaces of birth
DO - Public creation of two giant collages/mood boards of 'Births - the experience and environment' - this may be an ideal or actual experience. We are a X-disciplinary team of students + health + design professionals. This is a collaboration between Deverra, Doula UK, LJMU, National Childbirth Trust, AIMS, Liverpool PCT and FACT.

See this link for more info-

I will update soon with photo's!

Home Birth

I was lucky enough to attend my first homebirth last week!
After working as a Doula for four years, it was an amazing experience.
After a previous traumatic delivery I witnessed the power of loving care. It was a privilege to be able to witness the love between this couple, the atmosphere in the room was heady with oxytocin, low lights, the pool water, massage and oils in the air.
A midwife who was willing to step back and allow this birth to happen undisturbed, I could see the fear and adrenaline kick in with any attempt to perform a vaginal exam etc so her midwife just waited in the kitchen whilst myself and her partner continued supporting and encouraging.
She was actually orgasmic (have confirmed this with her since) and just kept saying how happy she was, no pharmacological drugs and birthed a persistent posterior baby. Within two hours was tucked up in bed with her older child, husband and new baby eating tea and toast!
After running a homebirth support group for years, am so glad to see with my own eyes the difference between birth at home and in hospital!
After the birth I went straight on to the Sheffield Homebirth Conference and really enjoyed hearing Denis Walsh speak and seeing the AIMS film Birth Matters (See my next post for more on this)
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