Background Water immersion during labour and birth is recognised as a means of empowering women and reducing need for analgesia. Although waterbirth is a ‘hands off’ birth, midwives are required to monitor progress and assist controlled delivery of the head. Viewing using a handheld mirror can often be restricted due to maternal position or inadequate lighting, which has implications for infection control and manual handling. There is therefore an unmet clinical need for a mirror with an inbuilt light suitable for use in waterbirths.
Objectives To i) undertake a scoping exercise with midwives and expecting mothers to identify the appropriate product specifications; ii) develop and iii) test prototypes based on these specifications suitable for commercial manufacture.
Design pathway and results
Device specification: The device requirements were specified in consultation with midwives of different seniorities attending to their requests and experiences of waterbirths. A novel weekly electronic ‘Comic Book’ (Figure 1) was to facilitate the design process (e.g. nature of illumination, ergonomics of device) and obtain feedback to ensure ongoing engagement with our midwifery target end-users.
Prototype development: Schematics and Computer Aided Drawings of potential devices (Figure 2) were used to inform the rapid prototyping techniques used to generate a Phase 1 prototype
Following Phase I prototype testing and design modification, a Phase 2 prototype was developed which we are currently preparing for licensing
Conclusion Using an innovative and interactive product design process, our multidisciplinary study team have developed an illuminated, flexible prototype mirror for use in waterbirths.
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