by Mandy Olive
In her continuous effort to improve the lives and health conditions of pregnant women in Honduras, Silvia has taken her work to a new level. Recently, she was asked to give a presentation to the nursing students at the University in Tegucigulpa. There, she demonstrated that through the use of various relaxation techniques it is possible to ease a woman’s pain and anxiety during labor. This is very important because studies have shown that a woman who is relaxed and feels supported will have more positive outcomes.
Silvia also taught the students about techniques like massage, stretching ,aromatherapy and about prenatals. She introduced the concept of what a doula is and why their implementation could be beneficial here in Honduras. For example, since there are no midwives that are part of the healthcare system here. Doulas would be able to fill a major gap in the birthing process by supporting a woman, providing her with comfort and strength throughout the process, and helping to make her feel more relaxed. While doulas have traditionally received some form of training in this process, the most important aspect is providing love and comfort to the mother, which could also be satisfied by having a supportive family member present (but this is currently not allowed in the most hospitals in Honduras).
In addition to relaxation techniques, she also wanted to teach them about newer and more effective birthing techniques that allow the mothers to have a more positive birthing experience. She showed the students various video clips that show the positive outcomes for laboring women involved in things like water birth, having full mobility during labor, and vertical positions to help during delivery.
The first two lectures, of 40 nursing students each, have been received with openness and excitement. Silvia has also been asked to return and present to another 120 nursing students in the near future. In addition to this, she will be presenting to the OB/GYN students there to teach them about these progessive techniques. All of these opportunities within the educational system create a promise for some significant changes in healthcare. As Silvia tells the students at the end of the lectures, “You are the future”.