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Maternity Unit Design part 3

Maternity Unit Design part 3: environmental comfort and control

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-171
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


Control and empowerment are crucial aspects of contemporary midwifery. Enabling a labouring woman to be in control is believed to aid the normal physiological process. To date no studies have explicitly considered individual control over environmental variables and its association with satisfaction levels. This second results paper presents data from a questionnaire survey of 559 mothers and 227 ward-based staff. While most mothers felt they could control the lighting within the birthing room, this was not the case in all the units surveyed; few acknowledged that they could adjust temperature or ventilation within the room. Staff attitudes towards this varied: 24% of midwives believed that such control should not be given to labouring or postnatal women. A perceived lack of control over environmental variables was common among midwives. Adverse comments about oppressive heating and lighting were common. Environmental noise was an irritant for some and was also cited as a factor in reducing work effectiveness


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