Creating a beautiful birth space allows your body and mind to relax. It’s that simple.
Here’s the science bit…
There is a lot of research on the subject of birth environments and in 2002 Hodnett ED conducted a Cochrane Review on Home-like versus conventional institutional settings for birth. They compared research findings on home-like birth environments and traditional birth ward settings. They found that women at low risk for obstetric complications, giving birth in a home-like birth environments associated with less analgesia use, operative delivery, and fetal abnormalities and greater satisfaction with care.
Did you know you can?
It is so easy to create a home-like feeling in a hospital setting. Firstly you need to know that you can bring your things with you to hospital. A lot of people don’t know they can but I promise you, you can. Most birthing centre’s and maternity hospitals will encourage you to make yourself at home. Most midwives will encourage you to bring items from home to make yourself comfortable in the hospital. You can bring your own pillow and bed linen should you wish. Modern maternity hospitals (in particular newer purpose-built birth suites) make efforts to enrich the birthing environment by choosing colour schemes and lighting that optimizes a calm atmosphere. However, hospitals are workspaces that are required to be ergonomic, hardwearing and easily cleaned. This is why we don’t see many homely touches. And this is why we feel weirded out by hospitals sometimes too.
What makes home birthing feel “homely”?
Start your birth space planning by taking a look at what home birthing looks like. Pick elements you can easily replicate in a hospital setting. The advantage that home birthing women have is that they already feel at home (because they are). Look at what makes it feel romantic, safe and private. They may have chosen a corner or smaller room to set up in to feel more secluded. They might drape couches and chairs in colourful or cosy fabrics. They may gather comfy blankets and cushions to create a nest to labour in. There might be a birth affirmation display board with crystals, birthing images and flowers. It’s a safe bet that there will be low lighting.They might dim the lights and use fairy lights or candles instead. They will feel secure and safe surrounded by familiar sights and in this setting, their body can tune instinctively to labour.
How can we recreate this homely feeling in a hospital?
Keep it simple. Keep it safe and keep it battery operated.
Don’t make the set up elaborate, a few key pieces you love and the right lighting will create the perfect mood. Remember you cannot use candles. Keep the room “staff friendly” by avoiding introducing workplace hazards. We love our midwives. Choose a blanket you love to snuggle under and bring it. Print and display some birthing affirmations/ posters to focus on. Bring battery operated lights. Borrow an oil diffuser or bring some oils to sniff from a tissue. Wear your own clothes (or none). Put a sign on the door that protects your privacy. Turn off all the lights and close the blinds. Put mobile devices on silent. Turn up the music. Wear headphones if you prefer. Keep warm, bring slippers/trainers and a cardigan. Choose a birth support that you love and ensure they will support and love you back. Bring food you like. Treat your space like your bedroom. It should feel safe and private.
When you feel safe and at home, your body naturally relaxes through the stages of labour.
Check out these fab birth pics our customers sent us of The Birthplace Comfort Kit