OPEN Research Support

Midwife with research role,
Karen Bøhrnsen
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Hospital of Southern Denmark in Aabenraa

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Open
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.11.2021  
Slut 01.11.2022  

The importance of Snoezelen room for the birth experience - a qualitative study

Short summary

Childbirth is a painful process and research shows that Snoezelen delivery rooms have an influence on mothers' ability to distract themselves from the birth pains.

The aim of this study is to investigate the importence of Snoezelen delivery room for pregnant women and their partners' birth experience.

16 couples of parents will be interviewed and data will be analysed with inspiration from Poul Ricoeur's interpretive theory.


In Denmark, about 65,000 children are born annually and for most women is the childbird a painful proces. The environment has an impact on human well-being and thus also on childbirth. The architecture of the room can stimulate the release of cortisol (stress hormone). The spontaneous birth is characterized by a natural production of oxytocin (a hormone which contracts the uterus), which is inhibited by cortisol. Therefore, in the last decade, specially designed maternity wards have been established in the hope of, among other things, to inhibiting the production of cortisol in the mothers in order to promote the effect of the natural production of oxytocin. These specially designed delivery rooms are called Snoezelen rooms and have an architectural design where vivid image, sound and light, supported by technology. The Snoezelen room is supposed to create a soothing setting for the mother and her partner.

Beside that Sensory environments have been shown to relieve pain due to muscle-relaxing effect Furthermore, it is shown that sensory environments cause support the user to distract from the pain, which gives a feeling of comfort, relief and self-control.

Research shows that Snoezelen rooms meet the mother's needs, reduce stress and anxiety in the transition between home and hospital, support their physical well-being and thus improve both social and physical aspects of the mother's well-being. Furthermore, these designed environments support the physical and emotional interaction between the mothers and their partners, making the mothers less concerned about their partner's well-being. Research also shows that Snoezelen rooms influence the mothers' ability to distract themselves from the birth pains, they relax better and achieve greater familiarity with the environment, which is better utilized by the mother and her partner. Furthermore, the partner gets a better birth experience in Snoezelen rooms because he / she achieves greater ownership over the birth due to the decor and the innovative technology.

The midwifery support seems inseparable from the maternity environment as the midwife experiences that she can make better use of her midwifery competencies when she assists the mothers and their partners in sensory maternity wards with comprehensive measures. Therefore, the mothers and their partners achieve a context in which the domestic environment, the sensory part and the midwife's interaction create a whole.

While it has been investigated how mothers and their partners experience giving birth in sensory delivery rooms with comprehensive measures, there is only limited knowledge about the mothers and their partners' experiences of giving birth in Snoezelen rooms that only contain technological measures with different light sources and sound. This knowledge is important as the good birth experience helps to promote attachment, breastfeeding and family formation.

The aim of this study is to investigate the importence of Snoezelen delivery room for pregnant women and their partners' birth experience.

Description of the cohort

The study takes place at the Obstetrics Department, Sygehus Sønderjylland, Aabenraa, which is smaller maternity ward in the southern Jutland, Denmark with approx. 1,700 births annually.

16 couples of parent is included. The informants are included consecutively in the study starting from December 1 2021. The participants are thus randomly included in the study.

The informants are recruited when they come for maternity consultation two days after the birth. A midwife unrelated to the project holds the maternity consultation. During the consultation, the midwife assesses whether the woman and her partner meet the inclusion criteria. If the couple meets the inclusion criteria, they will be invited to participate in the study. The couples will be informed orally and in writing about the study. The parents will be called by the researcher within a week to get a clarification on whether they want to participate in the study.

Data and biological material

The empirical data is collected from December 2021 - February 2022 and is generated via semi-structured interviews with parent 2 weeks (+/- 1 week) after birth. The interviews are recorded on a digital audio recorder and subsequently transcribed. Data is stored in OPEN, Odense University Hospital and thus complies with the data protection ordinance. The software program NVivo will be used for transcription as well as to systematize data. Data will be deleted after the project is completed. The analysis is inspired by Poul Ricoeur's interpretive theory: Naive reading, Structural analysis, as well as critical interpretation and discussion. Ricoeur's interpretive theory supports the purpose; to search for meaning and significance in relation to the woman giving birth and her partner and to the phenomena in their life world. All in order to gain insight into the experiences gained during their labor. The informants are informed orally and in writing about the project before signing the consent form. It is emphasized to the informants that consent can be withdrawn without justification and that it will not have consequences for their further course. The project is registered in a list of research projects of the Region of Southern Denmark. The Regional Science Ethics Committee has assessed that the study is not subject to notification. Data of all kinds are handled and stored in accordance with the Data Protection and Regulation.

Collaborating researchers and departments

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Hospital of Southern Denmark in Aabenraa