Birthing Room at a Hospital
Today, obstetrics is a marketable product, and this means that there are more awareness of obstetrics, and also a need for better services in the hospitals, where a woman could give birth in comfort. This means that the concept of a ‘birthing room’ has caught on, and more and more families are showing their preference for a well equipped and a state of the art birthing room. New birthing concepts have been created, and most hospitals use these as the base for their marketing strategies or their hospital. However, it must be remembered that certain recommendations must be followed strictly when developing a birthing room, for example, the state of Michigan had set up a few regulations for the hospital to follow. For one, the birthing room ought to be set well away from the conventional delivery room suite, and it must also be available to the woman who uses it, for a period of about twenty-four hours, or less if required. A non-licensed room thus in general is meant for single occupancy, and shall be accessed through a corridor set away from the segregated maternity services of the hospital. (Recommendations for development of LDRP and Birthing rooms)
The recommended dimensions of a comfortable birthing room ought to be a 200 square feet, with complete functionality. However, one room of the set of birthing room ought to be always, at times, be accessible for emergencies, and for performing emergency caesarian sections, and the dimensions of the room ought to be at the very least, about 360 square feet. The birthing room must have a bed that would provide for the Lithotomy and the Trendelenburg positions, and the room must have comfortable access to a toilet room with a shower, and also an outside window, with additional provisions for complete privacy. A hand wash lavatory must be provided, with a gooseneck inlet, and with easy to use and manage wrist, or knee, or foot controls. Soap and single use towels must be provided for the birthing room and the finishing of the birthing room can be similar to a ‘home environment’, but at the same time, it must be easy to clean and maintain. Furthermore, a minimum of two oxygen and two vacuum outlets must be available in the room, which could be used by both the mother as well as by the newborn infant, and there must also be provided in the room, an emergency communication system, which would connect directly to the nurse’s station. (Recommendations for development of LDRP and Birthing rooms)
Today, most hospitals have a birthing room, also known as ‘labor-delivery-recovery’ rooms, and one of the primacy advantages of having and using a birthing room is that labor and delivery can happen in the same place, instead of several different locations, to which the woman would have to be carted. A birthing room also looks and is, much more cozier and comfortable than an ordinary hospital room, which looks as all hospital rooms generally do: forbidding and scary. A personal shower is a bonus for the mother, and when visitors arrive, comfortable chairs are provided for them to sit and relax. There is not much medical equipment within the room, and this gives the room a homely atmosphere, as compared to an average ordinary hospital room. However, the mother must remember that a birthing room is generally meant for a less-risk and uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, and for those woman who have had complications during their pregnancy, and can therefore expect certain complications during their delivery, the birthing room may not be a very good option. (Glicksman; Gliksman; DiGeronimo, 2004)
Take the case study of a freestanding birth center, as an example of a perfectly well designed birthing center with numerous birthing rooms, which are quiet and comfortable for the mother to use, during her delivery. This particular birth center stands in the middle of a quiet residential street, along with other attached or semi-attached residences. When the center was opened, it had just one single birthing room, and volunteers carried out office work. The team of medical personnel at the birthing center was made up of a team of nurses-midwives, and a team of visiting physicians and pediatricians supported them. This was the plan of the birthing center: on the first floor, there would be a well equipped waiting room, in addition to a small and comfortable waiting area, two examining rooms, a doctor’s office room, and also a small powder room, and most importantly, the birthing room with an adjoining toilet. On the second floor there would be two birth rooms, and a bathroom, a TV room, a kitchen and dining area, and a large family room, where visitors could meet the mother-to-be and provide her with the emotional support that she would need at that most important period in her life. The third floor would house a large hall where meetings, classes and so on could be held, and a bedroom and bath, which could be used by nursing-midwives if they needed to. (Turkel, 1995)
Since the innate purpose of the birthing center is that of providing an extremely comfortable room for the mother to give birth in, this purpose would be well achieved by the basic plan of the birthing center. The decor of the birthing rooms was also an important consideration: the more homely the decor, the better for the woman, who need not be intimidated unnecessarily by the terrifying and daunting shiny medical equipment that are present in an average hospital room. This particular birthing center had a number of clients who donated any number of things for their favorite center: one client had given an old oak bed that belonged to her family, and this gave an old world charm to the entire room. Another client gave the center an old rocking chair, while another woman offered her needle point designs and other artwork to the center to give the place warmth and homeliness, and a friendliness that could never be paralleled by a hospital room with its bare and essentially functional furnishings. (Turkel, 1995)
This is the opinion of a man who had the (mis) fortune to attend the birth of his first child. When he was sweating and trembling, and completely frightened, the team of professional attending to his girlfriend were as quite and calm as could possibly be, and when he pointed out that his girl friend had started to deliver, the team smilingly took over the work, saying, “Ladies, its time to go to work.” As soon as they manned their posts, reports this man, they turned into an efficient and well-organized team of workers. The man too assisted in all the ways in which he possibly could, and quite possibly, his experience was a better one, because it happened in a birthing room, where his girlfriend was comfortable and happy while giving birth. (Brenner, 2003)
For many years, women did not have any option than to deliver their baby in a hospital, and given no choice, a woman had to go to a cold and detached hospital to give birth. Today, however, as mentioned earlier, a woman can choose to deliver in a birthing center, which would have specially created birthing rooms, or at a hospital, where they would feel safer. Certain women, especially those who have had a risky pregnancy, like for example, a woman with diabetes, with heart problems, or a kidney condition, would probably feel safe and secure if they could see all the gleaming modern medical instruments around them; some others may feel threatened and anxious when they see the same things. (Hospital Births and Birthing Centers)
However, the final decision would depend on the health care provider, who may advise the mother, especially if she is giving birth for the first time after the age of forty, to go to a hospital to deliver, just in case something were to happen. There are some health care providers who would advise all first time mothers to deliver at a hospital, in case of complications during delivery, which they feel a birth center would not be able to handle. For an uncomplicated pregnancy, however, a birthing center would be an excellent option, and a birthing room a first-rate choice. However, it must be remembered that there are many hospitals today, which are making efforts at providing birthing rooms for uncomplicated deliveries, within the hospital itself. The reason is that the birthing experience must be made more pleasant for the woman, for whom this can be a life altering experience too, and at the same time, provide the mother with the best medical attention available today. (Hospital Births and Birthing Centers)
Many women offer the opinion that giving birth in a cold hospital room was an experience sooner forgotten. Furthermore, felt these women, their experience did not allow them to include their family members or their partners in it, and they stated that they preferred to have a closer and shared experience with their family, than was allowed in a cold and sterile atmosphere of the hospital room. Many women have today started to complain about their bitter experiences, and this has led to the creation of a birthing room at the hospital. The room is made to look more like a warm and cozy room at home, rather than a cold medically equipped room at a hospital. Since birthing is a warm and beautiful experience, most women do feel that they must be provided with an atmosphere conducive to give birth in. A birthing room therefore, would be equipped with articles like rocking chairs, cozy seats, warm lighting, a variety of different kinds of stools, and railings, all of which would allow a woman to try out different birthing positions, and finally choose the one that suited her the best.
All the equipment in a birthing room must be designed to accommodate the entire team of medical personnel attending to the woman, and also accommodate her family if need be. At times, however, this factor can be a major disadvantage, and the woman must keep in mind the fact that all the equipment in the room may not actually be needed by her during her delivery; in fact, it may even hamper her when she walks around. There must therefore, be a minimum of clutter within the room, and the woman must be free to move around comfortably. The woman, about to give birth, and deciding on the place where she will deliver her child, must remember that the concept of a birthing room has caught up with fashion makers as well, and today, more and more hospital birthing rooms are made to look more fashionable than they are practical and comfortable. (Hospital Births and Birthing Centers)
One of the major advantages of a birthing room is that the infant can be kept in the same room as the mother, after she has given birth, unlike in a hospital, where the baby is taken immediately to a nursery. (Bruess; Greenberg, 2004) Another advantage is that in a birthing room, the woman gets the benefits of a friendly home atmosphere, while at the same time, enjoying the benefits of a medical team at her disposal. (Choudhri, 2005) A birthing room, especially when it is in a birthing center, it must be noted, will offer only the bare minimum of interventions; no intravenous procedures, no epidural anesthesia, or even electronic monitoring of the infant and the mother. The idea is to have the bets and the most optimum natural birth experience possible. However, in a birthing room in a hospital, all the medical facilities would be available when and if necessary and this would perhaps be a definitely better option than a birthing center or a bare and cold hospital room. (Westheimer; Grunebaum, 1999) The idea of delivering a baby in a birthing room has been labeled as ‘an alternative birth movement’. (Klassen, 2001)
However, the choice of having a baby in a hospital, or at home, or in a birthing center, or in a birthing room in a hospital must be left to the woman who is having her baby. The fact must be acknowledged that a woman is a natural and powerful being, and she must be given the choice to make her own decisions about such a major event in her life as giving birth to a new life. (Weisman, 1994) Today, Alternative Birth Centers or birthing rooms in a hospital are gaining in popularity, an they are, more often than not, meant for low risk pregnancies, and for those women who wish to involve their family or their partner while giving birth, in a homelike atmosphere, with little or no medical intervention. (Phillips, 2003)
Recent research has shown that the place of birth has a direct impact on the pace and quality of delivery, and when the woman feels confident and satisfied with the choice that she has made about her place of delivery, then she can be sure that her delivery would be as uncomplicated and natural as she desired it to be. A birthing room in a hospital, with the bare minimum of medical intervention and a homely atmosphere, with provisions for the partner and the family of the woman to take part in the amazing phenomenon of birth would be the ideal option for today’s woman having a baby, unless she has had complications during her pregnancy, for which a hospital setting would be a much better option. Having a safe and comfortable and natural delivery is the ideal of every woman on earth, and if a hospital facilitates this, then the woman would be obliged forever to the hospital and the medical team that helped create this setting and put it into action. (Evidence regarding place of birth)
Brenner, David. (2003) “I think there’s a terrorist in my soup: how to survive personal and word problems” Andrews McMeel Publishing.
Bruess, Clint E; Greenberg, Jerrold S. (2004) “Sexuality Education, Theory and Practice” Jones and Bartlett Publishers
Choudhri, Nihara K. (2005) “Parent Savvy, Straight Answers to your family’s financial”
Evidence regarding place of birth” Retrieved at http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/whoplace.html. Accessed 25 July, 2006
Glicksman, Michele Isaacs; Gliksman, Isaacs MD; DiGeronimo, Theresa Foy. (2004) The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. Alpha Books.
Hospital Births and Birthing Centers” Retrieved at http://www.pregnancy-info.net/hospital_births.html. Accessed 25 July, 2006
Klassen, Pamela E. (2001) “Blessed Events, religion and home birth in America” Princeton
Phillips, Celeste R. (2003) “Family Centered Maternity Care”
Jones and Bartlett Publishers
Recommendations for development of LDRP and Birthing rooms. Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services, Bureau of Health Systems. Retrieved From ht tp:/ / www.michigan.gov/documents/cis_bhs_fhs_ldrp_37382_7.pdf. Accessed 25 July, 2006
Turkel, Kathleen Doherty. (1995) “Women, power and childbirth”
Weisman, Leslie Kanes. (1994) “Discrimination by Design, a Feminist Critique of the man- made environment” University of Illinois Press
Westheimer, Ruth K; Grunebaum, Amos. (1999) “Dr. Ruth’s pregnancy guide for couples”
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