A midwifery-led birth centre that opened in 2010 at City Hospital in Birmingham has won The National Royal College of Midwives Award for “your Birth in our home”. It was judged by the President of the RCM and committee of judges. The award was presented by Natasha Kaplinski at The Brewery, London. The Serenity Midwifery Birth Centre provides low risk women with a tranquil, state of the art place to give birth but achieving a quiet, relaxing environment. It is designed to be a comfortable environment where birth is treated as a ‘normal’ process rather than a medical one. It is a purpose-built facility designed to look and feel homely so patients feel as relaxed as possible.
The women using the hospital’s services demand little but are not familiar with midwifery-led care so the aim of the midwives at the Serenity Midwifery Birth Centre is to educate and inform. Therefore it was crucial that the interior design of the Birth Centre was conducive to clear communication between the midwives and their patients, which also meant needing to limit disturbance from surrounding hospital areas.
Paul Scott, Capital Projects Manager, from City Hospital says: ‘It was an important consideration to get the acoustics right in the Serenity Midwifery Birth Centre, as its name suggests we wanted to create a serene and tranquil space in which low risk patients could feel as comfortable as possible when they give birth. Given the difficulty of communicating with some of our patients it was also important to create an environment where they could feel safe and supported by our midwives’
‘In addition to the Birth Centre, we’ve used acoustic ceilings in a number of clinical areas in the hospital. Anecdotally, we’ve noticed a vast difference in the acoustic quality of all these areas after fitting the acoustic ceilings but as we refurbish more areas, we’re planning to actually measure the acoustic performance and compare it to measurements taken before the sound absorbing ceilings were installed.’