Date of release: 5 May 2021
In an effort to ensure positive birth experiences for all women, midwives on New Cross Hospital’s delivery suite are now offering service-users the choice to have a small light display during labour; hoping the relaxing environment will encourage feelings of happiness and contentment.
The lights – ranging from fairy lights and LED candles – are being stored in what’s being called a ‘beautifying birth box’.
Midwife Emma Thorns thought up the idea after hearing about a similar concept at another NHS trust, where trolleys were stocked with a range of ‘comforting’ items for the birthing rooms. Feeling inspired, Emma decided to create her own box in an attempt to make the hospital’s obstetric rooms feel homelier.
She explains: “The birth environment has a big impact on women and NHS Trusts across the UK are trying to be creative as to how they can soften the spaces and make them look less clinical.
“There’s lots of national research showing women who undergo labour in an environment where they feel safe go on to produce oxytocin – one of the hormones that gets the birth going – so it’s really important to get the atmosphere just right, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to many feeling anxious or worried. These little things can make a big difference.”
With this in mind, Emma took to filling a box and placed it at the delivery suite’s main reception desk; here the midwives can grab bits from the box and accessorise the relevant obstetric room ready for the arrival of their patient.
“I’ve already had two shifts where women have commented on how lovely the lights are,” she added. “It’s great to see the impact it’s having.”
All items in the box are wipeable and cleaned between uses in-line with infection prevention guidelines.
And while the department only has one box at this time, Emma is keen to gather feedback from women and colleagues on how it’s being received. This is with a view to putting more boxes together with other sensory items such as diffusers and aromatherapy oils.
Well done to the team for their efforts to further support women during their hospital stay!