London-based architect Stiliyana Minkovska has designed a trio of undulating birthing chairs called Ultima Thule, which offer women a "sanctuary-like" environment during childbirth.
Minkovska's alternative birthing suite, comprises a collection of three chairs that are designed to support different stages of childbirth.
When giving birth to her daughter, Minkovska explained how she found respite in "exploring the farthest imaginable place".
This, for her, was "ultima thule" – a term derived from Latin that translates to "a distant unknown region" or "beyond the known world".
Inspired by methods such as hypnobirthing and water-births, Minkovska's designed Ultima Thule birthing suite as a "sanctuary-like" space where the mother can have greater control over her delivery and reproductive health.
The first chair, Labour Silla, is designed for the initial stage of childbirth, when the mother-to-be goes into labour and the contractions start.
Aiming to both empower and comfort the woman using it, its ergonomic and "elasto-mechanical" qualities respond to the multiple demands of the pregnant body, enabling the mother to prepare for parturition.
The undulating form of the chair encourages the woman to sit, kneel, squat, rest, lean and crawl until she finds a comfortable position.
The second piece of furniture, Parturition Stool, is designed as a tandem for the birth-giving stage. Its step-like design allows the woman to take a squatting position at the bottom half of the chair while a second person can support them from behind.
According to Minkovska, this squat position reduces the risks of tear, C-section, medical interventions and forceps deliveries, as opposed to the traditional supine position, which can also extend the delivery time.
The third piece, named Solace Chaise, is a chaise lounge for postpartum or recovery use. Designed as a relaxing "secured cocoon", the chair offers the woman a private space for after every birth experience.
Minkovska hopes that the chairs can become the new normal, being used by women and birthing mothers in private hospitals such as the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital and the Portland hospital in London.
Source: Natashah Hitti