In Pictures: Women Birthing in Ireland Need Better Birthing Spaces!


If you could design the birthing suites in your local maternity hospital, what would it look like? What would be in it?

Would you labour in your own room in privacy?
Would you have your own bathroom, shower, birthpool?
Would you have specific birthing aides? Ropes? Mats? Bean-bags? Poles or squat bars? Birth balls?
What would the decoration look like?
Would there be a stereo, tv?
Would there be room for your partner to stay over? A double bed?
Would there be a place to make a cup of tea? Or make food when you need it?
Rocking chair? Cot for your baby?
Room to move around in labour?
Fresh air?
Would you stay in the same space for your labour, birth, and post-natal time?

The birthing space is an important aspect of the birthing experience. Many women choose to stay home in order to have privacy and specific requirements during labour. The MLUs (midwife-led units) in Drogheda and Cavan (pictured above) are extremely popular for their ‘home away from home’ feel in a hospital setting, which are well stocked with birthing aides, and tools to maintain independence and individual needs while in labour.

AIMS Ireland thinks Ireland can do more to offer women more privacy, tools, and comfort, in a less sterile environment during the birth of their baby. Sometimes, we need to SEE what is available in other countries in order to make a push for what we need and expect from our maternity services at home in Ireland. With big changes coming with the announcements of new maternity units in Dublin, this is an opportunity for women to be push for changes on birthing spaces.

An AIMS Ireland supporter came up with this wonderful creative idea in order to help women visualise why campaigning for improvements in the maternity services is so important and how amazing birth spaces can be if the health system gets creative!

She says:

The idea is to get together to visualise better birthing spaces/environments for women in/for Ireland.

It would be great to have a collection of links to interesting and wonderful places to give birth – places that support women in birth – there may be places in other countries, or indeed Ireland, which inspire you with confidence, and which others may not have seen.

Home is a great place to give birth, but your home may not support your best friend’s best birth. So what is really interesting here is links to places that have supported larger numbers of women to birth in privacy.

The images below are examples of birthing spaces around the world which encompass a “home away from home” attitude towards birthing. Examples may be from birthing centres, MLUs, or hospital spaces which provide privacy and comfort to birthing women.

Making the Push for Better Birthing Spaces.
Things will not change until women ask for it. If you would like to make a push for better birthing spaces:

* Contact the Director of Midwifery and/or Hospital
Manager at your local hospital
* Contact the HSE through Your Service Your Say:
* Write to your local politician
* Contact the Office of the Ombudsman:
* Join AIMS Ireland in campaigning for more choice in maternity care or email us.
* Send in YOUR suggestions for services for the new National Maternity Unit which is set to open in 2018. AIMS Ireland will be posting your collection of suggestions and fowarding them to the HSE – Have your Say! Send your suggestions to Jene, titled “NMH Wishlist” or send them via twitter to @AIMSIreland #NMHwishlist or #listentowomen

In Pictures: Better Birthing Spaces at Home and Abroad!

Have an image to add? Contact us using the Contribute form.

View many more birthing spaces on our Pinterest board.


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