Does giving birth in a "birth environment room" versus a standard birth room lower augmentation of labor? - Results from a randomized controlled trial.

Iben Prentow Lorenzen, Charlotte Sander Andersen, Hanne Søndergaard Jensen, Ann Fogsgaard, Maralyn Jean Foureur, Finn Friis Lauszus, Ellen Aagaard Nøhr

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: In the last decade, there has been an increased interest in exploring the impact of the physical birth environment on midwifery practice and women's birth experiences. This study is based on the hypothesis that the environment for birth needs greater attention to improve some of the existing challenges in modern obstetric practice, for example the increasing use of augmentation and number of interventions during delivery. Study design: A randomized controlled trial was carried out to study the effect of giving birth in a specially designed “birth environment room” on the use of augmentation during labor. The study took place at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Herning Hospital, Denmark and included 680 nulliparous women in spontaneous labor at term with a fetus in cephalic presentation. Women were randomly allocated to either the “birth environment room” or a standard birth room. The primary outcome was augmentation of labor by use of oxytocin. Secondary outcomes were duration of labor, use of pharmacological pain relief, and mode of birth. Differences were estimated as relative risks (RR) and presented with 95% confidence intervals. Results: No difference was found on the primary outcome, augmentation of labor (29.1% in the “birth environment room” versus 30.6% in the standard room, RR 0.97; 0.89–1.08). More women in the “birth environment room” used the bathtub (60.6% versus 52.4%, RR 1.18; 1.02–1.37), whereas a tendency to lower use of epidural analgesia (22.6% versus 28.2%) did not reach statistical significance (RR 0.87; 0.74–1.02). The chance of an uncomplicated birth was almost similar in the two groups (70.6% in the “birth environment room” versus 72.6% in the standard room, RR 0.97; 0.88–1.07) as were duration of labor (mean 7.9 hours in both groups). Conclusions: Birthing in a specially designed physical birth environment did not lower use of oxytocin for augmentation of labor. Neither did it have any effect on duration of labor, use of pharmacological pain relief, and chance of birthing without complications. We recommend that future trials are conducted in birth units with greater improvement potentials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100125
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology: X
Volume10
Number of pages7
ISSN2590-1613
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Birth environment
  • Birth experience
  • Birth outcome
  • Birth room design
  • Birth unit design
  • Oxytocin

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