"How might we help pregnant couples during their pregnancy to avoid tears during childbirth?"
With this thesis, I have been looking at opportunities for improvement of childbirth in Scandinavia with a focus on prevention of perineal tears and levator injuries during labor.
My aim has been to help couples during their pregnancy by giving them a more active role in order to avoid tears during childbirth. I have strived to help pregnant mothers to improve their well-being as well as improve cooperation between pregnant couples in order for them to have a better birthing experience.
My goal has been to develop a concept which could improve today’s situation and that in theory could be implemented today in Scandinavia. Another goal was to create a discursive design topic, to question childbirth as it is today and show a new vision for how it could look like in the future. I wanted to show the importance of quality of life and that childbirth both could and should be questioned and looked into more in order to improve it.
INSPIRATION & METHOD
As for the research phase I have done a lot of desktop research as well as conducted several interviews and observations with both couples with small children, doulas and midwifes to gain more experience and knowledge on my topic. In order to get a better and fuller understanding of childbirth I used a method called journey mapping for my interviews with the couples with small children, visualizing their pregnancy journey on paper.
When it comes to the ideation and concept phase I held a lot of co-creation workshops, feedback sessions and user testings. In order for me to improve my process for a better and more accurate result I involved both Industrial Designers, UX Designers, midwifes, doulas as well as couples with small children.
My final result is a couple, body care training package which consists of the PREGcare physical kit and app. It provides pregnant couples with the tools, information and methods needed to avoid perineal tears and levator injuries during childbirth.
Specifically, the PREGcare kit consists of in depth information and body care related exercises. These exercises are divided into three categories. Firstly, there are body care exercises which focus on connecting the brain and body through the pregnant mother's nervous system in order to avoid perineal tears during childbirth. Secondly, there are profylax exercises which focus on calm breathing and usage of a low pitch humming voice to help the pregnant mother to stay calm and in control to avoid a prolonged birth which may lead to tears. Lastly, there are spinning babies exercises which focus on fetal baby positioning to provide for an easier, less painful birth as well as avoiding levator injuries or the need for a C-section. The spinning babies exercises are only found in the app, since no products are needed to do these exercises. Instead these exercises has a strong emphasis on couple cooperation since they can not be performed on your own.
The PREGcare kit may be used throughout all of the three stages of childbirth, involving pregnancy, labor and recovery. However its main purpose lies within the proactive stage of pregnancy and labor.