by Zoe Paterson
Just before Christmas this year we organized a doula workshop for nurses of the maternity ward of San Felipe Hospital in the capital, Tegucigalpa. This doula workshop was specifically designed by Dar a Luz for nurses working in Honduran hospitals.
A huge thank you to our wonderful friend Anna who taught the class, and brought with her an enormous amount of much-needed medical equipment, and other supplies. Anna stayed for two weeks (over Christmas!) to support laboring women, and to support the nurses’ new skills. A peanut ball, birth ball, pelvis model and baby model have also been donated to the maternity ward.
The Honduran government often does not have the money to adequately pay nurses, let alone pay for labour support staff. In the public hospitals where Dar a Luz works, family members are not allowed to accompany women in labour into the ward, which makes it all the more important that nurses be given the opportunity to learn a supporting role.
Over the four days of the course Anna taught doula essentials that can be combined with regular nursing care to offer a more rounded medical and emotional experience to labouring women. She was able to teach massage for pain reduction, breathing techniques, positions for easier labour, ways to create trust and connection, and introduced and donated birth balls and peanut balls for the hospital’s use. The nurses were able to practice their new skills immediately with the women in labour at the hospital.
Education makes all the difference here in Honduras, and Sylvia is currently planning another trip to Tegucigalpa, this time for a more in-depth seminar for all the nurses of the maternity ward.