Creature comforts, continuity of care and creating a less clinical environment were the top design requirements for midwifery students set a novel challenge.
First-year students were tasked with creating the ideal birthing suite for families, with the unique advantage of an imaginary, endless amount of money.
Their final, ‘ideal world’ designs covered everything the students felt would make expectant families feel as comfortable and confident as possible.
Student Zoe McClintock (on the left of the main image and whose design is pictured): “It was surprising to have such a creative activity, but we really threw ourselves into it – I even searched for some graphic design websites to give my work an extra, professional edge!
“The ‘brief’ was literally to create the perfect suite with all the money in the world. But we had the design of a basic apartment to start us off, such as adjustable healthcare emergency needs, but hidden away (like the bed). Making mothers and their families feel 100 percent comfortable was something we were all thinking about.”
Maddie Bierton (second right of the photo) fully agreed with Zoe: “Excessively clinical environments can be off-putting for some mothers and might affect the ease of their birth experience. Even the word clinical can be too much. The hormone oxytocin brings on contractions and this is produced when you feel comfortable, so we wanted our suites to feel more like a mother’s home, to give a more relaxed birthing experience.”
Devon Quantock (first from the right of the image) added: “It’s really good that the University has this exercise. It really got us thinking about many issues and having those considerations in your head when you go into practice; that is how we can help change to be implemented.”
Helen Malloy (on the left of the image with Zoe) concludes: “Obviously these are ‘ideal world’ thoughts and not everything on our wish lists would be possible, but there are important considerations we need to always bear in mind. Such as always making people feel listened to, that they are not just a number, taking partners’ thoughts into consideration and to be adaptable to people’s needs. A midwife doesn’t need a bottomless pot of money to achieve that.”