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Grand Designs: a study of student midwives' use of a 'Room Planner' App to create a normal birthing environment

Maxwell, C and Corlett, S (2015) Grand Designs: a study of student midwives' use of a 'Room Planner' App to create a normal birthing environment. Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool.

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The environment within which women give birth has a direct effect upon their birthing experience (RCM 2008, Hodnett et al 2009, Walsh 2010, RCM 2010a, Igarashi et al 2014, Hammond et al 2013). Due to the shift from home to hospital birth most women now birth in an environment which is highly medicalised and one that affects her privacy and sense of control (Walsh 2010a). If a woman does not choose to give birth at home a ‘home from home’ modified type birth setting is the next preferable environment and has been demonstrated to lead to positive outcomes. (Hodnett et al 2009). From the evidence it is vital that midwives and student midwives provide the most positive birthing environment they can for the women they are caring for. In view of this student midwives were asked to design an optimum birthing environment using a free ‘Room Planner’ App which was downloaded onto I-pads. The App contained no medical appliances or equipment thus the students could only design a ‘home like’ birth environment. The students’ use of the App was explored in relation to birthing environment and as an educational tool. Methodology The study design was mixed methods and data was collected by a 10 point Questionnaire (n=17) focus group (n=6) and printouts of the birth environment designs. Data was analysed manually for the questionnaire, by thematic analysis for the focus group and via critical visual analysis in relation to the designs. Results The students placed great emphasis on the birthing ‘triad’ of woman, birth partner(s) and midwife when designing their rooms, which featured three main themes: comfort, usefulness and aesthetics. Comfort was strongly aligned to the psychological nature of labour and birth, with an emphasis on reducing anxiety. Lighting, space and privacy were paramount for the woman. This also included space and privacy for the midwife to observe labour and to make records, and for the birthing partner(s) to relax and rejuvenate themselves. Usefulness was very much focused on the physical process of labour and birth, with water featuring in all of the rooms (shower or bath) and furniture that would aid an upright position. L-shaped sofas were often included in order for the woman, birth partner and midwife to be together. Aesthetics were additions that were often personal to the students enabling them to have some ‘ownership’ of the birth environment, and promote familiarity. From an educational perspective the students felt that using the app aided their visual learning, increased retention of knowledge, made them ‘think outside the box’ and prepared them for clinical practice. Discussion It is evident the students viewed the design of an optimum birthing environment as one that needed to be inclusive of the birthing ‘triad’ of woman, birth partner and midwife. In addition the room design was aligned to practical, psychological and physical needs. Birthing rooms design needs to consider those supporting a woman during labour and birth, and their individual requirements in order to maximise care and outcome.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: Midwifery Education; Birthing Environment
Subjects: R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Publisher: Liverpool John Moores University
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2015 10:01
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2022 11:13
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2497
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