A ... study that re-conceptualized the hospital labour room by removing the standard, clinical bed and adding relaxation-promoting equipment had a 28 per cent drop in infusions of artificial oxytocin, a powerful drug used to advance slow labours.
I'm not surprised. Stress and adrenaline lower the level of natural oxytocin and create the "need" for the artificial form of the hormone. If the environment feels safe for the woman, her oxytocin levels will rise and she will not need the synthetic form to be dripped into her veins. Home usually provides the most relaxing environment for labour.
... In addition, more than 65 percent of the labouring women in the ambient room, compared to 13 per cent in the standard labour room, reported they spent less than half their hospital labour in the standard labour bed.
.... Hodnett devised a set of simple, but radical modifications to the standard hospital labour room, with the intention of surrounding the women and their caregivers with specific types of auditory, visual and tactile stimuli.
"The removal of the standard hospital bed sent a message that this was not the only place a woman could labour," says Hodnett. A portable, double-sized mattress with several large, comfortable cushions was set up in the corner of the ambient room. Fluorescent lighting was dimmed, and DVDs of ocean beaches, waterfalls and other soothing vistas were projected onto a wall. A wide variety of music was also made available.
... "This study raises questions about the assumptions underlying the design of the typical hospital labour room," says Hodnett. "The birth environment seems to affect the behaviour of everyone in it - the laboring women as well as those who provide care for her.