Group discussion

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Birth Unit Ready to Go. Image by Sarah Stewart. Second Life build by Aaron Griffiths for the SLENZ project. CC By

This lesson should take around 60 minutes and is appropriate for junior midwifery students, as well as anyone interested in childbirth. You will have a look at the virtual birthing unit in Second Life and write about your thoughts in the Facebook Group called "Birth, Environment and Second Life". This activity is designed to generate discussion about birth, birthing environment and Second Life. This will be open to anyone who has a Facebook account.


  • Computer and Internet with access to Second Life and Facebook
  • Basic ability to use Second Life and access the Virtual Birthing
  • Extra resources to support this lesson either as links or printed handouts:


  1. Demonstrate an understanding of childbirth as a normal life event which occurs within diverse social and cultural contexts.
  2. Discuss the impact of the underpinning philosophies of midwifery on the childbirth experiences of women and the development of midwifery knowledge.


1. Look around the virtual birth unit. Click on the objects and look at the signs that tell you how the birth unit has been designed and why it includes the features in the way it does.

2. Go to the page Facebook group "Birth, birth environment and Second Life".

3. Read the questions and topics on the discussion board.

4. Write a comment or reply to at least one topic.

  • How important is the environment to women when they give birth and their families?
  • What features did you expect to see in the birth unit? What were you surprised to see and why? What would you have expected to see in the birth unit that were not included?
  • What does the virtual birth unit say to you about the midwife's work environment? How was health and safety addressed? Were there any features that you would have liked included that were not? Did you see any health and safety issues that were not addressed in the birth unit?
  • How can midwives create a warm and supportive environment for women in real life, especially in busy, medicalised hospitals?
  • How much of an effect do you think the environment has on the outcomes of normal birth?
  • How do you think the environment affects midwifery practice?

5. Have a read of other people's comments, or remember to come back and see if anyone has replied to your comment. Feel free to use the Facebook group for discussion, this activity is aimed at getting people talking about birth environments.