In the public hospitals, women are typically moved into the labor and delivery area when they are 4 centimeters dilated, their water has broken, or there is a complication. Before this, women wait outside of the labor and delivery ward in waiting areas, sometimes for very long periods of time. Many women in these rooms are full of fear, especially if they are having their first baby. Some of these women are only 14 or 15 years old. In some cases women do not understand the physiological process of birth and do not know the contractions to be normal. For that reason, many feel that no one wants to help them, and some even believe that they may die. These waiting areas are an ideal location for inspiring and educational materials.
Education and information materials have been developed that explain birth in easy-to-understand terms in order to reach women of various educational backgrounds. The subject matter of these materials was chosen based on the questions Silvia heard most frequently from laboring women.
With the permission of the former director of the old Hospital Atlantida in La Ceiba, the first, hand-drawn childbirth education materials were placed in the waiting room. Silvia observed a marked difference in women’s sense of well-being on the maternity ward, and she also saw women engaging with birth in a more informed manner.
Since then, educational materials have been posted in hospital labor and delivery waiting rooms in many places in Honduras.
These materials have also been donated to health care centers, where clinical staff often engage with the materials to help explain dilation, anatomy, and other aspects of birth to their patients. For some women, this is the first time they have seen diagrams of the birthing process. Dar a Luz is working to post these materials in every health care center and every public hospital in Honduras.