Softbirth Birth Couches – How Trusts are using them in Midwifery Led Units and Obstetric Units
Warrington and Halton NHS Trust have thrown out some of the traditional mechanical beds in both the Midwifery Led Unit (MLU) AND the obstetric unit and replaced them with Softbirth Birth Couches! Knowing that women have the best chance of a positive birth in an environment which best supports a birthing woman’s biological need to move and change position, MLU Manager Carys Hammond, Head of Midwifery Dr Tracey Cooper and their teams have created a hugely positive change in their Trust.
Carys said, “We realised that not every woman needs the mechanical obstetric beds. We wanted to change the rooms, make them physically different, so that midwives would offer the birthing couch room to women. They use pieces of the couch to adapt to different birthing positions and be upright and mobile. It totally changes the ambiance of the room. It’s not right for everyone, and women’s needs are evaluated individually in partnership between the woman and the staff, but the birth environment is really important. Midwives are excited about them!”
Carys reported that the Trust was supportive of the changes. Senior management helped the midwifery team to work through the infection control and governance procedures and getting their support was key to this project.
The Trust midwives are ensuring that women are aware of the options of the birth couch in both the obstetric unit and the MLU. This is done in a variety of ways, including their monthly “Maternity Voices” meetings, their Facebook page (link: https://www.facebook.com/WarringtonAndHaltonHospitalsNhsFoundationTrust/) and on the tours around the wards which are offered to pregnant parents.
“These changes are evidence based,” said Carys, “and it’s what women are asking for. Remember who is important – the women.”
To find more about introducing SoftBirth birth couches into obstetric units or midwifery led units, please get in touch.