The ergodesign of childbirth
The main aim of this paper is to showcase the symbiotic potency of an integrated Ergonomics and Design Research. The focus is to capture actionable insights for the design and evaluation of an Obstetric Body-Support System for physiologic childbirth. Such a system would be biomechanically efficient for the mother, in addition to improving the tasks of the birth attendants in the management of labour and ensuring the safety and well-being of the mother and her baby. The current medical model adopted for the management of labour and childbirth in hospitals is discussed to highlight current idiosyncratic procedures adopted in childbirth practices of modern obstetrics, and the challenges and opportunities for design improvement. An evidence-based transdisciplinary method is detailed through a case study to demonstrate how ergonomics research is applied to elicit empirical anatomical, physiological, psychological and behavioural knowledge, to inform the designer with evidence and insight for problem framing, new concept visualization, prototyping, and system evaluation in hospital settings. ‘Ergodesign’, a hybrid paradigm to humanise labour and childbirth, is proposed as a design science to improve current obstetric practices. Keywords: Ergodesign, Evidence-Based Design Childbirth, System Thinking.