Lighting is the easiest and quickest way to create a comfortable, intimate environment for birth.

There are also great benefits to low lighting during labour, low lighting releases melatonin which works together with Oxytocin to help thin and open the cervix and support contractions of the uterus. It is common for women to labour at night because the environment is quieter with low light. I have also seen some research on the colour of lighting and its effect on labour, it was found that warming lighting such as yellows, oranges and reds have a positive effect on labour progression as they are the colours our primal brain associates with fire and warmth.

How do you create a relaxed mood in a hospital setting? Simple, Turn the lights off.

Draw the blinds, close the doors and turn the lights off. Take control of the space and create somewhere private, calming and beautiful. Think romance! A lot of the hormones are the same so make it romantic and you’ll have ticked all the boxes.

You can decide to work with the light sources you have to hand or you are welcome to bring some lighting from home. Candles are not an option of course, however battery-operated lighting is ideal for the birthing environment.

Making the most of the birth suite lighting

Some birth suites will have battery operated tealight candels or a diffuser that you can use. You can ask these questions on your hospital tour, however if their presence is important to you pack your own.

There is often a small lamp in the room that can be switched on and angled towards a corner or wall to create a softer low light.

Most birth suites have dimmer switches but you may find that even a dimmed room is too bright.

You can use the attached bathroom light by switching on and leaving the door slightly ajar. This will create a small pathway of light through the room so you can try to avoid it directly.

Ask for a portable lamp- Most birth suites have a small portable hand lamp which you can position near but not directly on to the labouring woman.

Lighting for birth

Bring Your Own – Keep it simple and effective

There is a huge variety of battery-operated lighting available in the décor section of most stores.

Here’s a few things to consider when choosing lighting

  1. Is it safe? Avoid coin batteries if you can.
  2. Is it small enough to tuck into my birth bag? You bag will be chock full of goodies so keep your lighting simple and compact.
  3. How much light does it emit? If it’s a multi coloured laser and you’re not going to a rave you may want to reconsider. But if its a tiny twinkle light that is pretty but you can see your birth affirmations then consider adding more.
  4. Is it easy to use? You want to be able to set up for labour within a few minutes of landing into your birth. Keep it simple and portable.
  5. Can I use it again? Choose something you’ll use at home too afterwards.

At home you can have a labour space set up days in advance so can afford to be a little more elaborate with strung fairy lighting and candles. In hospital, you can use battery operated tealights, candles, nightlights, wire twinkle lights or peg lights. You have so many options!

Staff will ensure they have sufficient light to work with that should not interfere with your environment. You can also ask that monitors that emit light can be turn away from the labouring woman or the screen brightness lowered. Please consider that you are also in a work area so avoid hanging lights across entry ways or equipment and of course keep away from water.

Birth Space

Pregnant Mamas,

Talk to your birth support about how you would like your space set up and have the confidence to say “TURN THAT LIGHT OFF” if it’s troubling you. You’re the captain of this journey.

Happy Birthing

Janet x

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