The goal of the Lab.our Ward Project was is to design labour ward innovations based around women's and care providers' needs and to support a safer birth experience for every woman and newborn. The project is run by M4ID and initiated by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The process is carried out as a collaboration between architecture, service design and product design. Helena Sandman put together the architecture team of interior designer Kanika Frings and architecture students Petter Eklund and Mariana Rantanen.

The spatial design of the labour ward facilitates the journey of the woman in labour, and her companion, through admission to discharge. In many contemporary labour wards there is limited privacy and little space for a companion to accompany the woman and support her through her labour. Our research shows that the organization of the labour ward is frequently disjointed and there is often no clear route to move through the facility.

Labour ward architecture could make it easier for women to understand the stage of labour in which they are, to understand where they will go to next and for staff to more readily manage situations as they arise. The spaces on display here are organized to achieve a balance between safety and privacy.

We have come up with a modular design which can be constructed for different needs and in different sizes. This includes a model of a ward designed for approximately 300 births a month. It includes a cesarean theatre and a ward for approximately 100 births/month. Moreover, there is a ward which can be used as an addition to an existing facility, which is designed for approximately 500 births/month.

All material produced in the project is Open Source.