Transforming the birthing experience for the better, Aastrika Midwifery Centre, founded by Dr. Janhavi Nilekani, is an evidenced-based birthing center in India designed to promote natural births and steer mothers-to-be away from cesareans. Perkins Eastman was commissioned to do the programming, planning, interior design, and execution of the 5,300-square-foot healthcare center.
Set within the existing Vasavi hospital in Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore, Aastrika Midwifery Centre is the first clinic in India to feature specialized Denmark-inspired sensory technology in the labor and delivery rooms. Specific combinations of the audio-visual stimulation and specialty dimmable lighting have a documented calming effect on the otherwise clinical space, creating a sense of well-being and an overall comforting and supportive birthing experience.
After referencing several evidenced-based research papers, including the Ariadne Labs and MASS Design Group’s study on “Innovation in the Design of Child Birth Spaces” by Dr. Neel Shah and colleagues, as well as the research and documentation conducted by Reshma Bachwani for Aastrika, “The Birth of a Birth Centre,” Perkins Eastman began the design process.
With both outpatient and inpatient care, the design of Aastrika provides continuous support to a mother-to-be during her pregnancy. The birthing suite comprises two labor and delivery rooms and three antepartum/post-partum rooms with expansion capability. While the design focuses on the patient’s well-being, it also promotes optimal staff efficiency. Quick access to call rooms, collaborative spaces, nourishment areas, and break rooms have all been carefully considered in the layout of the birthing center.
Designed to promote an active labor, the private birthing suite features a hallway designed as an early labor lounge, encouraging the mother to ambulate while in labor; it features areas of respite and nourishment along the way.
The labor and delivery room are unlike any other clinical space in the birthing suite. Designed to reduce stress, maintain an active birthing environment, and improve the overall patient satisfaction, the spacious room has exercise equipment, like a birthing ball and a ceiling-mounted rebozo, or birth rope, to support and encourage the mother through natural labor. A birthing pool is provided to give the mother the option of a water birth or, alternatively, water immersion, which is known to provide pain relief during labor. Designed to be larger than industry standard, the labor and delivery rooms support the mother-to-be through all stages of labor.