by Mandy Olive
With a population of over 1.3 million people, the capital city of Tegucigulpa has a great need for prenatal and maternal healthcare. Approximately 50-60 births take place in its public hospital each day. Of these, nearly 40 percent are under the age of 18 and have no preparation for the birthing process. In order to alleviate this problem, Silvia has gained permission to teach a series of three prenatal classes for the women there, which will include relaxation and breathing techinques and a prober preparation for the birthing process. This is one of the first public prenatal classes to be offered in Tegucigulpa. Currently, there is one nurse, Kelin Gonzalez, who is responsible for the only prenatal classes being taught in the capital. However, with a limit of six women each, these are often full or too expensive for many of the local women to afford.
Silvia, along side a local nurse named Lourdes Diaz and with Kelin Gonzalez, will be offering classes for up to twelve women at a time with one guest each, free of charge. These fun and educational classes are primarily aimed at adolescent girls aged 12-18 who would otherwise receive no information about female anatomy, what to expect during labor and how to control their labor pains. Silvia, Kelin and Lourdes donate their time in order to help these girls and their community. This is a project that is desperately needed, not only in Tegucigulpa, but throughout Honduras. In the future, Silvia hopes to educate nurses in other communities so that the prenatal education and knowledge can reach more women and become a regular practice among Hondurans.
**Silvia would like to give special thanks to Mandy Hashberger, a doula from the United States, for her donation of educational materials such as an anatomical pelvis and a birthing doll which has since been named “Felix Emilio”. She would also like to thank Tara Franke, a German midwife who has created a foundation in Germany called “Sounds of the Heart” and donated a beautiful instructional display which will be used to teach girls about their own bodies and the progression of labor. Finally, Silvia thanks Steve Foster for his donations which have allowed her to continue her work and travel to the capital city to work on these amazing projects.**