Provide a safer, yet comfortable birthing experience for the patient and family.
That was the goal expressed to us by Aurora Sinai Medical Center in wanting to create a water birth suite for expectant mothers and their families. This idea was born after a birth tub was donated to the hospital with no dedicated space to accommodate its use. The concept was to recreate the home water birth experience in a newly designed suite that felt like home but with immediate access to a hospital full of staff.
We were initially asked to design the suite in one existing labor and delivery room but found converting one room would not provide the capacity needed to host both families and medical staff. This posed our biggest design challenge, and in response, Zimmerman renovated two of the rooms into one spacious suite, ensuring there is enough room for the mother to be surrounded by staff and loved ones.
This ultra-modern, tranquil suite feels more like a birthing destination. The 800 sq.ft. suite features dimmable, LED color-changing lighting for positive distraction and thoughtfully selected artwork to foster a calm ambiance. The specialized tub utilizes Chroma-therapy LED light and warm ozonated water to increase physical comfort for mothers during labor. Minute details such as keeping medical gas outlets out of the patient’s view at the headwall create a less clinical feel and add to the cozy, home atmosphere.
Water births are increasing in popularity, however the option to have them at a hospital is limited. Aurora Sinai began researching water births as an option for its patients in 2022. They found that only 6-10% of hospitals in the U.S. offer a water birth option for mothers-to-be. As part of their research, they began providing water births on trial basis with the use of an inflatable pool. The new addition of the suite and birth tub now allows Sinai to offer the option permanently for families. Prior to Sinai’s new suite, the nearest hospital to provide the option was in Madison, WI. Sinai’s water birth suite is now the only hospital in southeast Wisconsin providing water births as a birthing option.