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Hatch - Medical Bassinet

Hatch is an accessible medical bassinet that facilitates acute postpartum recovery and maternal bonding.

  • Render of Hatch in hospital.

  • User experience video using semi-functional prototype.

    User experience video using semi-functional prototype.

  • Labelled diagram of key features and various colourways.

  • Functionality in different use cases.

  • Semi-functional prototype in usability testing.

  • Prototyping process.

What it does

Hatch reduces the physical demands on mothers experiencing limited mobility and pain by enabling maternal proximity. This assists mothers to build confidence in independently caring for their newborn, particularly after C-Section deliveries.

Your inspiration

The purpose of this design is to create conversation and innovation in women’s healthcare, a field which has historically been side-lined, to create a product designed by women, with women, for women. Postpartum is a period of rapid physical and emotional change where mothers report feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. Midwives provide vital support, however, “staff shortages and underfunding sees midwives stretched, stressed, and struggling to provide the best care”. Improvement of acute postpartum recovery has potential to reduce ongoing maternal health challenges, such as postpartum depression, ultimately lessening midwives’ workloads.

How it works

The cantilever form allows the pod to reach perpendicular to the mother’s bed creating a safer, less strenuous interaction. With a wide range of motion and convenient storage pouches, Hatch can be manipulated to support a variety of care tasks, such as skin-to-skin contact, feeding, nappy changing and medical check-ups with minimal disruption for mother and baby. This provides mothers with agency of care. The transparent pod encourages visual connection, whilst supporting safe sleep practices. A gentle, lockable rocking mechanism allows mothers to settle their newborn. Hatch can be adjusted in relation to any bed height or user height for transport between wards. The central locking castors can only be unlocked when the trigger on the handle is pulled, this ensures the bassinet is only mobile when it is being held. Additionally, in transport mode the footprint fits within that of wheelchair, allowing it to comfortably navigate through hospital corridors.

Design process

Ensuring the design development was guided by an empathetic, insight-driven process I conducted interviews, surveys and birthing facility visits to gain key insights regarding experiences and attitudes towards postpartum care. Firstly, this research informed a round of rapid ideation, a 2D exploration of visual style, features and functionality. In conjunction with a quick full scale cardboard model of an existing bassinet to understand scale and relationship with space and the user. Next, CAD modelling and 3D prototyping began to understand ergonomics and usability of potential key features. These tools were used to refine the prior 2D exploration and consolidate them into 3 broad concepts, each with a features and visual language. These concepts were workshopped and critiqued by key stakeholders to identify successes and further opportunities. Narrowing the scope from this feedback I began building a full scale semi-functional model, representing key touch points. This was supported by a 1:4 scale 3D printed aesthetic model to demonstrate the visual language.

How it is different

Hatch is designed to be a proactive tool to facilitate positive postpartum health outcomes for mother and child, rather than reactive. Traditional medical bassinets are positioned parallel to the bed. Hatch is innovative in that the pivoting arm brings the bassinet closer to the mother, creating safer engagements between mother and child. The cohesive application of existing features and technologies is what makes Hatch unique. The handle operated central locking castors are invaluable, providing users with surety of the bassinets safety. The rocking mechanism which simulates movement in the womb, is expected in domestic bassinets but never translated to a clinical setting. Off-centre rotation and stacking ability show understanding of functionality in clinical environment. The soft colours and gentle lines aim to create a warm, homely visual language in a clinical environment, contrasting to the traditional sterile utilitarian form and materiality.

Future plans

I hope that Hatch continues to encourage constructive conversation regarding inclusivity in design and innovation, particularly in healthcare. The support and positive feedback from both maternity care practitioners and mothers regarding the positive impact of Hatch has encouraged its continued development beyond the initial project scope. The next steps for Hatch would be to create a functional scale model which is fit for purpose of on-site user testing. Allowing the user feedback to inform the next stages of iterative development, exploring how Hatch functions within a clinical setting as well as adjustments to key touch points.


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