Moms aren't taking labour lying down

January 6, 2014

New birthing bed gives comfort, support in Lacombe

Story by Kerri Robins; photo by Thelma Mellafont

LACOMBE — Thanks to the new automatic Affinity 4 Birthing Bed, moms at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre here aren’t taking labour lying down anymore.

Designed with birthing moms’ comfort and safety in mind, the high-tech bed was purchased by the hospital in 2013.

New mom Jada-Lynn Muncaster praises its ease of use and adjustable backrest.

Using the Affinity 4 Birthing Bed, mom Jada-Lynn Muncaster welcomed her son, Gunner, at Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre“My overall labour was about seven hours, so it was nice being able to easily adjust the position of the bed when I needed to,” says Muncaster, who gave birth to son Gunner on April 21. “In fact, it took less than a minute to change the position of the bed when it was time to deliver the baby.”

The old birthing bed, with its limited supports, would often require nurses and labour partners to provide additional support. That meant standing in the same position for lengthy periods of time.

The Affinity 4 has changed all that, says Wyona Sargent, Acute Care Charge Nurse at the Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre.

“The new bed is fully automatic, giving labouring moms the option of raising or lowering the backrest themselves with the push of a button. They can go from laying back or sitting upright at will,” says Sargent.

“The freedom of movement in labour is not only critical in assisting in the birthing process, it’s just nice to move and switch positions when one position becomes too painful.”
The new bed also provides critical leg and calf support for moms.

“So, for example, if she wants to lie on her side to give birth, the bed provides a leg support that can swivel to any position and hold mom’s leg for her — that way we can attend to mom in other ways and let the bed support her legs,” adds Sargent.

That’s important, as having the bed to do the heavy support work reduces strain and fatigue on staff during deliveries.

The bed also features a memory-foam mattress with air support. Lower back pain is common in labour; the mattress has air pockets that mom can inflate at the push of a button to provide firmer support where needed to ensure her comfort.

With its locking wheels and safety side rails, the bed and mom can be easily wheeled to an operating room if an emergency arises.

The Affinity 4 Birthing Bed was made possible through donations from 120 golfers and a number of local sponsors at the 21st Annual Lacombe Hospital Charity Golf Classic last June. Hosted by the David Thompson Health Trust, $24,000 was raised through the golf tournament for the birthing bed.

Corrie Fortner, Executive Director for the David Thompson Health Trust, is pleased with the community support.

“It’s an extraordinary moment for every family when a new member joins them, and donors are excited to know that they are contributing in such a special way,” says Fortner.
“Projects like this really make it clear that the donations are worthwhile and a unique opportunity to support families and care providers.”

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