For over four decades, international midwifery experts have been advocating an holistic approach to childbirth based on three key principles:–
- interactive engagement of a single midwife with a woman throughout pregnancy and birth
- the invoking of relaxation as a powerful ally in labour
- upright positioning during childbirth whenever possible.
Yet, despite compelling research findings, current mainstream childbirth practice still revolves heavily around the obstetric bed. It is the dominant physical feature of the vast majority of birthing rooms, and its presence dictates the whole conduct of the birth.
Intended to replace the obstetric bed for the great majority of births, the BirthRite Floor Studio represents the first unified approach to putting seamlessly into practice all the principles of holistic midwifery. It is called the “Floor Studio”: “Floor” to highlight the connection of the birthing woman with the ground, and “Studio” to emphasize the creative environment in which she and her midwife can experiment safely and comfortably with the holistic principles to achieve the best birthing outcome possible.
The Floor Studio comprises the following components:–
The Floor Studio’s components were conceived by experienced midwifery practitioner Monika Boenigk, and refined in close cooperation with midwives, women and University departments over a period of several years. The result is a creative, comfortable and safe working platform that empowers labouring women and offers them childbirth with dignity. Its simplicity strikes a deep chord in couples preparing for childbirth, and they are highly motivated by the prospect of active participation in the birthing process.
According to the National Coordinator of the Australian Society of Independent Midwives, Jan Robinson, the BirthRite Floor Studio “should be the central focus of all natural birthing rooms, rather than a bed.” She says that it is highly likely that pregnant women will begin to demand the choice of an upright birth once they understand the benefits for themselves and their baby.
The presence of the Floor Studio in a hospital birthing room makes a strong statement about the “woman-centered, active birth philosophy” of that unit. As soon as the participants enter the room, they are welcomed by a setting that provides all of what is needed for a birth in a simple, non-medical and appealing way.
The Floor Studio draws the “birthing team” into its energy. Things change, even for the the most habituated professional. Its mere presence affirms the woman of the significance of her efforts in bringing forth her baby. She feels motivated and reassured about “getting down” to the hard work required, understanding that only she can do it. The Floor Studio provides the appropriate setting and an opportunity for her to focus inwards and to use relaxation to her best advantage.
The woman’s partner and her midwife are able to give optimal support and encouragement as, for the first time, they, too, enjoy some physical comfort, so often lacking when standing perched around an obstetric bed.
By creating a psychological barrier from unwelcome interference, the Floor Studio setting provides an element of precious privacy: anyone not involved in the immediate birth-work has no place in it!
It is BirthRite’s goal to see the Floor Studio regarded as the Setting of Choice in midwifery. It is the base from which to explore and achieve upright birthing at its best. The practice of holistic obstetrics with the help of the BirthRite Floor Studio reflects on the hospital also, as its birthing unit becomes not just a “place to be saved” but rather a place where extraordinary experiences are created and savoured.
“Many women are still being denied the right to give birth actively. While mobility in labour may be encouraged, women still experience difficulty and conflict when attempting to give birth in upright, squatting or kneeling positions. The benefits of these positions are clear, yet such common sense continues to be overlooked in the practice of most midwives and the development of obstetrics.
“The need for an effective birthing setting which truly enables both mother and midwife to be comfortable during the birth of the baby is long overdue.
“The BirthRite (Birthing) Seat and Floor Studio provide the missing link which gives the support and comfort needed to continue the ‘Active Birth’ philosophy all the way through, until the baby is safely in his or her mother’s arms and the placenta delivered.”
— Janet Balaskas
Childbirth Educator, International Author and Keynote Speaker
Founder of the Active Birth Movement and the Active Birth Center
The key elements of holistic midwifery are discussed and demonstrated in the teaching film, The BirthRite Experience. The inclusion of controversial topics and numerous research citations make it a truly valuable resource for antenatal and midwifery education. A copy of the film accompanies the Floor Studio.
As well as being able to be bought in the complete setting, Floor Studio components may be purchased separately, in any combination, to suit individual circumstances.