by Nouf Bazaz
Yesterday, February 29th (on the day of a leap year!), Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba closed out the month with the first day that the birth ball was used by a pregnant woman in the maternity unit! Typically in Hospital Atlantida, a woman is confined to her bed without pillows, lying on her back or side, even in the early stages of labor. Yesterday, one woman was three centimeters dilated and experiencing considerable discomfort (frequently screaming out in pain) after lying on her back in bed alone for several hours. I began to describe to her some of the benefits of using a birth ball such as easing the pain of contractions, helping to open the pelvis, and helping the baby descend into an optimal birthing position. The woman was eager to try for herself. Once I brought the ball that we donated, she naturally settled in the positions that were most comfortable for her from swaying back and forth to softly moving up and down. She stayed on the ball for over an hour and told me that the ball was very helpful and especially helped her feel more tranquil. A few curious members of the nursing staff even came over and asked her how she felt. She expressed to everyone who asked how much the ball was helping soothe her pain. It was a great opportunity for a woman to experience the many benefits of the birth ball as well as to help introduce the use of the ball to hospital staff. It was clear to hospital staff that her labor had progressed after just one hour on the birth ball. We hope to integrate the birth ball more fully into the life of the hospital. Simply by demonstrating to staff how the birth ball can help to relieve pain and speed up labor, we are providing healthier alternatives to such practices usually utilized by hospital staff, such as artificial rupture of membranes, as well as promote a less traumatic birthing experience overall.
Thank you again for every one that has supported Dar a Luz with their donations as well as their time and energy to work here within the hospitals!