Creating a Better Birth Environment with NCT
‘Nine out of ten women felt that the physical surrounding can affect how easy or difficult it is to give birth’
Creating a Better Birth Environment, Mary Newburn, 2003.
As a midwife, you’ll know that a clean and comfortable room is vital for women to labour and birth in. The NCT’s Creating a Better Birth Environment report (2003) shows the room also needs to be practical, with space to allow the mother to find comfortable positions during labour.
‘Recommendation on mobilisation and Position - Women should be encouraged and helped to move and adopt whatever positions they find comfortable throughout labour’- NICE, Intrapartum Care, September 2007
Quick Fixes for a Better Birth Room:
1. Move the bed to the side of the room so that it is not the main focus. Introduce a birthing couch which enables the birth partner to get closer to support the woman
2. Operate a 'Please knock before entering' policy
3. Ensure there are soft, washable mats in the room so that women can use the floor to find comfortable labour and birthing positions
4. Provide a range of useful equipment to use in labour and birth such as birth balls, pillows and bean bags
5. Install dimmable lighting and/or lamps
6. Ensure there is a comfortable chair in the room for the partner
7. Provide wall bars to enable the woman to support themselves in different positions
8. Ensure rooms are clean with facilities for refreshments
To help mothers to be more comfortable, while being mobile and upright if they choose, we have a range of birthing equipment that can be used in maternity units or birth centres. Here are a few examples:
The Bradbury Birthing Couch was developed with a midwife experienced in active birth. It’s designed to allow comfortable upright positioning, and it has no hard edges so any part of the couch can be used. Its unique sculpting of the lower end provides a generous platform for the midwife to work. Code 3270 Price £750
The BirthRite Birthing seat and studio, was also designed with midwives, and helps the mother to be in an upright position throughout her birthing experience. Different from the traditional birthing stool, its slightly angled design reduces pressure on the perineum and the mother experiences less perineal engorgement than if she was on a horizontal surface. From £1000 for a birth seat.
A range of birthing equipment, such as birthing couches, birthing stools, birthing balls, cushions and beanbags can help support mothers’ chosen positions in labour and birth. This will support women in having more fulfilling birth experiences. See our full range of Birth room equipment
Informed choice for Parents
The NCT and MIDIRS have come together to provide comprehensive information for healthcare professionals on
informed choice to help parents achieve the birth they desire.
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NICE Intrapartum Care, management and delivery of care to women in labour. (2007).
Creating a Better Birth Environment. Audit Tool kit. Newburn M. Singh D. (2003)