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Theorising the relationship between birth unit design and the communication patterns of labouring women and their maternity care providers

Funding: 2011: $100,512
2012: $91,340
2013: $86,140

Project Member(s): Foureur, M., Homer, C.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Projects)

Start year: 2011

Summary: The architectural design of hospital birth spaces has a major influence on the quality of communication between women and their care providers and the ability to experience a safe, satisfying birth. This project aims to identify the key features of optimal birth unit design that will enhance communication and thereby improve women's experiences.


Menke, S, Jenkinson, B, Foureur, M & Kildea, S 2019, 'Is the Birthing Unit Design Spatial Evaluation Tool valid for diverse groups?', Women and Birth, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 372-379.
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Foureur, M & Harte, JD 2017, 'Salutogenic Design for Birth' in Kopec, D (ed), Health and Well-Being for Interior Architecture, Taylor & Francis, New York, pp. 108-122.

Harte, D, Homer, CS, Sheehan, A, Leap, N & Foureur, M 2017, 'Using video in childbirth research: ethical approval challenges', Nursing Ethics, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 177-189.
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Mondy, T, Fenwick, J, Leap, N & Foureur, M 2016, 'How domesticity dictates behaviour in the birth space: Lessons for designing birth environments in institutions wanting to promote a positive experience of birth', MIDWIFERY, vol. 43, pp. 37-47.
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Townsend, B, Fenwick, J, Thomson, V & Foureur, M 2016, 'The birth bed: A qualitative study on the views of midwives regarding the use of the bed in the birth space', WOMEN AND BIRTH, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 80-84.
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Hammond, AD, Foureur, M & Homer, CS 2014, 'The hardware and software implications of hospital birth room design: A midwifery perspective', Midwifery, vol. 30, no. 7, pp. 825-830.
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Hammond, AD, Homer, CS & Foureur, M 2014, 'Messages from Space: An exploration of the relationship between hospital birth environments and midwifery practice', Health Environments Research & Design Journal, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 81-95.
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Harte, JD, Leap, N, Fenwick, J, Homer, CS & Foureur, M 2014, 'Methodological insights from a study using video-ethnography to conduct interdisciplinary research in the study of birth unit design', International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 36-48.
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Hammond, AD, Foureur, M, Homer, CS & Davis, D 2013, 'Space, place and the midwife: Exploring the relationship between the birth environment, neurobiology and midwifery practice', Women and Birth, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 277-281.
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Stenglin, MK & Foureur, M 2013, 'Designing out the fear cascade to increase the likelihood of normal birth', Midwifery, vol. 29, no. 8, pp. 819-825.
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Keywords: birth environment, communication, birthing women, maternity care providers.

FOR Codes: Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified, Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified, Midwifery, Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design, Communication not elsewhere classified