The Partera Chair
Objective: Create a product or service that can benefit Midwives.
Research and Key Findings
I read through dozens of scientific papers as well as looked at data surrounding maternity healthcare.
Midwives save lives
Midwife attendance leads to lower rates of preventable deaths due to complications at birth.
Countries that have over 75% midwife attendance at birth have significantly lower Maternal Mortality Rates.
The USA’s midwife attendance is only at 9.4% and the USA is the only country whose MMR has gone up in the past 20 years.
I Interviewed nine midwives, five mothers, and one maternity nurse to understand what it is like to provide, receive, and work with midwife-based care.
Midwives are “less-than”
Midwives have always been an integral part of maternity care since the 8th century BC.
Propaganda was spread in the 1700s by male physicians to discredit midwife care.
The ideas spread by these men are still baked into our culture today and cause women to not even know midwife-based care is an option for them.
I got the opportunity to shadow a midwife for a day at the Garrison Women's Health Center in Dover, NH.
Comfort is the biggest issue
The biggest struggle for midwives at work is being able to provide care for their patients.
Patients are uncomfortable for reasons outside of labor. This can cause delays in the labor process.
This discomfort is normally due to the monitoring methods and tools used during labor and delivery.
Main Issues Identified
Midwives and midwife care sometimes have a negative connotation due to historical and cultural ideas in the United States.
This can result in mothers not knowing that midwives are even an option for their maternity care, and can lead to midwives not being treated fairly by doctors that work alongside them.
Patients’ are extremely uncomfortable during labor, due to the fetal heart rate monitors that they have to wear during labor.
Fetal heart rate monitors are uncomfortable, itchy, disruptive, and limit movement. This can lead to inaccurate readings.
Patients’ are extremely uncomfortable during birth, due to them wanting to use a birthing stool for delivery but not having suitable options.
While the birthing stools can be an amazing tool for giving birth, the options at this maternity ward and on the market currently are extremely uncomfortable, can lead to perineal tears, and look like medieval torture devices.
How Might We...
improve midwives’ work by enhancing the public perception of midwife care while increasing comfort for their patients?
The Midwife Network
The Midwife Network is a way to formalize the already existing relationship between female patients and their care providers.
This allows a woman to go out and find their own midwife or have a friend or family member to facilitate that relationship in a more formal way.
Birthing Chair Redesign
The chairs currently on the market, as well as the ones that were at the maternity ward I visited, are extremely uncomfortable and uninviting.
I decided to figure out how to improve upon the chairs that were on the market.
Updated Fetal HR Monitor
The biggest complaint with these monitors is how they’re attached to the stomach. They are currently fastened with a cloth belt that goes around the stomach.
I decided to think up a few new ways to attach these monitors to a patient
Original Birthing Stool
Birthing stool the maternity ward started with.
A bent piece of metal tubing and a pool noodle for comfort.
Not many mothers actually wanted to use this stool.
Kaya Birthing Stool
$230 (personal use) $490 (professional use)
The Kaya Birthing Stool is more of a tool than a “stool”.
Used in a variety of different orientations to help with stretching and delivery.
Waterproof and makes a good waterbirth tool.
Photo from: kayabirth.com
"Improved" Birthing Chair
Built by a patient’s husband so that she could have the chair birth she wanted more comfortably.
Donated to the hospital to be used by other patients.
An improvement, but looks like a medieval torture device.
Cub Birthing Stool
The Cub Birthing Stool is an inflatable stool.
Inflates in two parts and is easily storable.
A very good solution for home births and water births.
The inflatable nature makes the product feel less legitimate than a stool made of a sturdier material.
Photo from: amazon.com
The Partera Chair
The Partera Chair can change the way maternity care is thought of in the United States by helping midwives to deliver high-quality, respectful care to their patients.
This tool makes it easier for midwives to assist in upright deliveries, allowing the process to go smoother for the patient. This helps save women’s lives by exposing them to a more personalized care system while also helping midwives work thrive.
The goal, in the long run, is to allow the chair and this style of delivery to attract more attention and patients to midwife practices.
Birthing chairs are extremely close to the ground. This allows for the patient’s hips to be in the optimal position for delivery.
The Partera Chair’s seat is only 12 inches tall while the entire height varies based on what position the chair is in.