Dar a Luz takes a holistic approach to improving maternal healthcare throughout Honduras, in both rural and urban areas. Activities include supporting women laboring in public hospitals, offering education to medical students and medical staff in hospitals and universities, giving childbirth and general education to women in hogares maternos, womens groups, health care centers and regional hospitals, and collaborating with traditional midwives in rural areas.
Women coming to the public hospital usually have limited access to information about birth. Many women are kept in the dark about both the physiological and the emotional aspects of birth.
In the public hospital the women in general are moved into the labor and delivery area when the cervix is 5 centimeters dilated. Before this, they wait in the hallway in front of the labor and delivery ward, sometimes for very long periods of time. Many women in these waiting rooms are full of fear, especially if they are having their first baby. Some of these women are only 14 or 15 years old. Some women even believe they will die, and many feel that no one wants to help them. These waiting areas are an ideal location for inspiring and educational materials.
Sometimes I spent time in the waiting area explaining procedures to these women and their families, showing them how they could breathe to feel less pain, showing relatives how to give pain-relieving massage, and explaining other ways to ease the birthing process.
I developed education and information materials that explained birth in easy-to-understand terms in order to reach women of various educational backgrounds.
With the permission of the director of the former Hospital Atlantida, I placed my first, hand-drawn chidlbirth education materials. I observed a marked difference in women´s sense of wellbeing. I also saw women engaging with birth in a more informed manner. This information empowered women, helping them cope with the hierarchy of medical system, which can feel isolating. Since then, Dar a Luz has posted educational materials in healthcare centers, hospitals, and mothers´ waiting rooms throughout Honduras. Clinical staff also engage with these materials to help explain dilation, anatomy, and other aspects of birth. For some women, this is the first time they have seen diagrams of their reproductive organs.
The subject matter of these materials was chosen based on the questions I heard most frequently from laboring women. We are currently working to develop further materials on topics such as danger signs during pregnancy. Your donation will help us to procude these materials as well as cover the cost of traveling to post these materials in every health care center and every public hospital in Honduras.