At long last! After all those years of crouching in impossible positions whilst helping women to labour and birth upright, someone has finally thought about the needs of the long-suffering midwife!
Cries of delight and relief from midwives around the world greeted the unveiling of the BirthRite Midwife Chair at the International Confederation of Midwives 27th Congress held in Brisbane, Australia, in July 2005. Many did not want to get off it and just wanted to take it home there and then!
Designed by experienced midwife Monika Boenigk, the Midwife Chair is a pivotal element of the BirthRite Floor Studio in that, for the first time, the attendant is fully integrated into the birthing setting. Yet the Chair’s light weight means that it can easily be moved to provide comfort for the midwife when the labouring woman spends time on the toilet, under the shower or in the bath.
The Midwife Chair keeps the midwife in a comfortable but alert posture, at the right height to maintain eye-level interactive engagement with the woman. Swift change to the half-sitting, half-kneeling position at the time of birth is facilitated by the highly polished surface and carefully moulded shape.
The midwife is also well placed to assist the woman with breastfeeding her baby after birth.
The fibreglass seating area is supported by stainless steel legs shaped to prevent toppling of the Chair should a leg slip over the edge of the Birthing Mat.
For a number of midwives, attending upright births has been discouraged, due to Occupational Health and Safety concerns held in some quarters. With the advent of the BirthRite Midwife Chair, midwives can at last practise holistic midwifery as it was meant to be practised, while OH&S concerns can be directed towards the problems associated with attendants leaning over obstetric beds!
When Danielle van Dijk hired a BirthRite Birthing Seat for use at a major women’s hospital in Sydney, her obstetrician Dr James Ferry devised his own “floor studio” and found an alternative use for the obstetric bed. (Click on image at left for a larger view.) Dr Ferry recalls that mum did an amazing job breathing the baby out “the BirthRite way”, no tears. (Note baby Chanelle’s perfect head-shape due to the gentle way of being birthed.) He was so impressed that he recommended the hospital get its own BirthRite Birthing Seats for women labouring there.
Now, if the hospital had the Midwife Chair as well, he might be even more comfy while doing his job!