Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Interviews about birth environment from FACT Liverpool March 09

St Mary's Hospital, London

I am going to start featuring pictures and details of birthing rooms which have been designed in an innovative way to facilitate physiological birth.

I am hoping the new birthing center rooms in Liverpool (the Big Push project) will incorporate some of these ideas.

The first hospital I want to feature is St Mary's in London. The midwife-led St Mary’s birth centre opened its doors on June 4 2008 following four years of planning and preparation.

The center is open to women with low risk pregnancies.

All five bedrooms are en-suite, with a double bed, mats, birth stools and hammock as well as a TV for the whole family to relax together and welcome their new arrival. Three of the bedrooms are fitted with corner baths and the others with a birth pool and wet room.

When we interviewed women at the 'A Space to give birth in event in FACT' one of the issues that came up was the difficulty in transition from one physical space to another, having to walk down busy public corridors in the second stage of labour or transition to get in a pool.
As you can see in the picture above, St Mary's have en suite wet rooms with pools, so women can get in or out of the pool as they choose.
I also love the hammock which women can use to hang onto, this technique of 'dangling' is described on the Spinning babies website as 'allowing the pelvis to have the most mobility of any technique' and the "baby come out" position, so named by Penny Simkin.
I think the pull down double beds are a FANTASTIC idea. With the beds up, there is lots of space to move around and there is less of that sense of a bed dominating the room. The bed is also low to the ground so may feel more 'Safe' than beds which are high up off the ground, in the Cork birthing room that I mentioned in a previous post, whilst I love the decor (much more like an expensive spa than a hospital) the bed does not look as comfortable or welcoming as St Mary's!
The beds at St Mary's are also Doubles, which means there's room for Dad too! This that they are valuing fathers and the creation of the family unit.

This takes on board the recommendations of the Fatherhood Institute (The Dad Deficit: The Missing Piece of the Maternity Jigsaw)

Their research found that-
  • 70% of men and women (asked) agree that dads should be able to stay overnight in hospital with their partner when their baby is born.

Sarah's Musings: Concepts of birth unit design

Sarah's Musings: Concepts of birth unit design
This is a really interesting blog from a Midwife in New Zealand who has been creating a virtual birthing center in the online world 'Second Life' based on the work of Italian architect Bianca Lepori.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Liverpool Womens hospital visit

As part of the design process for 'A Space to give birth in' We visited the Liverpool Women's hospital and photographed some of the birthing rooms.

Can you imagine walking up this corridor in labour?

I gave birth here and have also supported many births here as a Doula.

This is one of the Midwife led unit rooms, as you can see, after two years on the MSLC I managed to have the clocks moved from in front of the beds, to behind the beds!

Here's a slightly more Hi tech room.

In contrast, here is a picture of an award winning new birthing room in Cork hospital.

I will be adding more photo's of birthing rooms which I think are innovative or encourage physiological birth.

We are hoping the designers of the Cork room ( will come to our next 'A Space to give birth in' event at FACT, Liverpool on May 18th.

I will also add some of the words from the interviews with mothers in Liverpool from the March event, I was watching them last night and they were very powerful.

Rebozo - the action shots | Homebirth: Midwife Mutiny in South Australia

Rebozo - the action shots Homebirth: Midwife Mutiny in South Australia

Fantastic post showing how to use a Rebozo to help reposition a posterior baby.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

A Space to Give Birth In

On the 27th March 2009, In conjunction with Casper Jones from Liverpool John Moores university we ran a session entitled 'A Space to give birth in'

It was a very moving and inspirational day.

We set up the large room with lots of photographs of births and an example birthing room, with pool, bed, candles, flowers (even a bottle of champagne!)

We also put out lots of collage materials.

We had lots of women come to the event, a really busy, productive atmosphere in the room, with people creating collages of their vision of an ideal birth environment.

Watching Nadine Edwards film (from AIMS) 'Birth Matters' was very moving, I saw tears on many peoples faces.

We had a wonderful yoga session (thanks Jenni!) and people spoke on camera about their own birth experiences, how the environment effected them and what they think is required to help facilitate birth.

I will put up a link where you can see the footage soon.
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