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Hospital delivers better birth room

Sunday, 12th May, 2013

Midwifery Unit Manager Elizabeth Bennett holds newborn Patrick Aeschlimann while his mother Bonnie officially opens the hospital’s new birth room with artist Amanda Johnson. Midwifery Unit Manager Elizabeth Bennett holds newborn Patrick Aeschlimann while his mother Bonnie officially opens the hospital’s new birth room with artist Amanda Johnson.

By Emily Roberts

The Maternity Unit has renovated a birthing room to make it more comfortable and welcoming.

The work started more than 18 months ago and Midwifery Unit Manager, Elizabeth Bennett, said they looked at everything from the size of the room to the infrastructure.

"A two-bedroom suite was developed which encompasses a kitchen and dining room," Ms Bennett said.

"There is also an outside garden for couples to take some time outside."

Ms Bennett said artist Amanda Johnson was also commissioned for the wall art.

"Mrs Johnson visited and spent some time in the room, taking photos and getting a feel for the room's dynamic.

"She completed three artworks, all of which reflect the colours and concepts of the Birth Room - a calm, inviting space and a warm, homely environment with focal points and visual distraction."

Mrs Johnson said she had recently painted a family tree for her family and wanted to do something similar for the birth room.

"There are a lot more images that mothers can focus on," she said.

"In my birthing experience over 20 years ago, my midwife suggested I use a distraction.

I painted different images that they could connect to.

"There is the Eiffel tower, a palm tree, women having coffee, cats, dogs, horses, kids flying a kite.

"I also painted the Statue of Liberty, which caused discussion, but I thought she was a symbol of freedom - a strong woman who is free."

Ms Bennett said the paintings were focal points to concentrate on during labour.

"We wanted to provide a relaxed environment that has optimal outcomes of birth," she said.

"Very few birthing rooms in the State have original artwork by their local artists."

Ms Bennett said there was a second smaller birthing room if there is more than one woman in labour.

"It doesn't happen very often - local women are very kind to us," she said.

Bonnie Aeschlimann and husband Andrew were the first to benefit from the room and the paintings during the birth of their third son, Patrick.

"It's a lot more cosy, it's a really nice atmosphere," said Mrs Aeschlimann, who was later invited to cut the ribbon to the new room.

"I felt physically relaxed walking in."

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