A note to my pregnant friend

Here’s a note that I sent to a friend who is concerned about having a natural childbirth.  I’m pretty passionate about this sort of thing so I wanted to share this here too.

Well, where to begin…I personally have two friends who had their membranes stripped and now look back on it in regret. They both ended up with very long labors and one ended up with a C-section because after over 50 hours of labor she still was not dilated enough. The other one did have a natural birth, but only after many, many hours of labor. They told me that they think their extraordinary long labors were due to them having their membranes stripped. Continue reading

Comadrona en la Ciuidad de Guatemala

Una familia en frente de la clinica.

Centro De Parto Natural
Mientras que las parteras mayas o comadronas son comunes en el campo de Guatemala, la búsqueda de una partera que hable inglés en Guatemala puede ser difícil. Lo mejor que podemos decir es que encontramos a la única partera entrenada en Estados Unidos, de habla inglés en la ciudad de Guatemala cuando encontramos a Hannah Friewald en el Centro de Parto Natural, donde se especializa en los nacimientos en agua y tiene uno de los pocos, si no el único, centro de nacimiento en agua en toda América Central.

Historia de Hannah
Hannah es de Alemania, donde los partos en casa son la norma. Se ha rodeado de eso toda su vida y también habla perfectamente el inglés. Se formó en los Estados Unidos a través de la Maternidad La Luz en El Paso, Texas, y también está certificada en Guatemala (que puede ser una cosa importante si su seguro médico internacional sólo ofrece cobertura para la atención médica certificada).
Hannah ha trabajado como matrona desde hace años y ha asistido a unos 1.400 nacimientos a partir de mayo del 2011. Ella dijo que nunca ha perdido un bebé, e incluso habló de un par de bebés de nalgas que ha dado a luz y algunos bebés VBAC (Nacimiento Vaginal Después de la Cesárea) que tambien ha dado a luz, junto con un par de situaciones de emergencia. Ella ha dio a luz a bebés de los embajadores de un par de diferentes países de Europa, aquí en Guatemala y parece tener un horario lleno.
Nos quedamos muy contentos con el cuidado que nos dio a nosotros durante el parto de nuestro primer hijo. Ella se ocupó de nuestro parto de 31 horas con un enfoque profesional y atento que nos ayudó a tener la experiencia de parto que siempre quisimos. Sin duda, nos volveremos con Hannah cuando tengamos la oportunidad.
Continue reading

International Health Insurance for Expatriates

We live abroad and we want international health insurance for our family. While companies that provide international health insurance are many, we wanted something that provided some key options:

  • Reasonably good coverage (of course!)
  • Maternity coverage
  • A track record of good service to customers (see reviews)
  • A high deductible option,
  • Coverage inside and outside the U.S.,
  • Inexpensive, money-saving rates

We searched around, talked to fellow expatriates and discovered some options. Below is a break down on what we found.

(UPDATE!) After reviewing a number of options, we chose to go with IMG  but after a good year and a half of using them they increased their costs for the maternity rider by some 60%. So we dropped them and switched to a Guatemalan insurance that includes coverage in the States for when we visit. Now we use Seguros GyT.

International insurance options we checked out:

 

 

Global Medical Insurance from IMG (International Medical Group) Continue reading

Natural childbirth in Guatemala

 

Chrisi at the Chichicastenango municipal sign

Pregnant and moving to Guatemala

On January 28th of 2011, we moved to Guatemala to serve as missionaries when we were six months pregnant (about 25 weeks) with our first son. We wanted to have our son naturally, and we very quickly found out that this would be a bit difficult. With C-section rates at 80% in the private hospitals in Guatemala, we realized that we needed an alternative in order to have the birth we wanted.

For months we’d been preparing, reading and learning about giving birth

Download a free book on Healthy pregnancy (52 Brilliant Ideas) from Amazon!
Other books we found helpful as we prepared for our little one are:

Ok, Back to Guatemal…we started checking our options. We were studying Spanish in Xela so we checked out an APROFAM public clinic that has a birthing center, but it still wasn’t what we were looking for.  We did have an ultrasound and bloodwork done at APROFAM and every thing was looking great!

BabyBjorn Travel Light

Preparations

In Xela we prepped the baby’s bed by buying 5-inch mattress foam and cutting it to fit inside our BABYBJÖRN Travel Crib. We used three pieces and had them covered with regular sheet material we had purchased at Megapaca. A sastre or sewing guy, made the mattress cases with a zipper for us so we can change them as needed. The new mattresses gave 15 inches of lift to the modified play pen so our baby would be at a bassinet level and we can lower it as he gets bigger. Continue reading

The midwife option for natural birth in Guatemala

 

 

Family at clinic

Centro De Parto Natural

While Mayan midwives or comadronas are common across the countryside of Guatemala, finding an English-speaking midwife in Guatemala can be difficult. As best as we can tell, we found the only American-trained, English-speaking midwife in Guatemala City when we found Hannah Friewald at the Centro De Parto Natural where she specializes in water births and has one of the only, if not the only, water birth centers in all of Central America.

Hannah’s Story

Initial newborn exam

Hannah is from Germany where home births are the norm. She has been around it her whole life and also speaks perfect English. She trained in the States through Maternidad La Luz in El Paso, Texas and is also certified in Guatemala (which can be an important thing if your international medical insurance only gives coverage for certified medical care).

Hannah has worked as a midwife for years and has attended some 1,400 births as of May 2011. She said that she has never lost a baby and even told of a couple breech babies she has delivered and some v-bac babies she has delivered, along with a couple emergency situations. She has delivered babies for the ambassadors of a couple different European countries here in Guatemala and seems to keep a full schedule. Continue reading

APROFAM Medical Clinic in Quetzaltenango

Are you an expatriate looking for a women’s health clinic in (Xela) Quetzaltenango, Guatemala? Maybe you’re a Spanish school student, missionary, or traveler needing some extra medical attention.

We moved to Xela for Spanish school and we also happened to be pregnant so we checked out the APROFAM (Asociacion Pro Bienestar de la Familia) Clinic. Since we were looking for a place to have our baby in Guatemala. Here’s what we thought…

Especially for women,  APROFAM provides a full-service clinic and mini-hospital complete with multiple in-house surgeons, doctors, overnight rooms and birthing facilities.

This clinic is part of a nation-wide clinic service and offers an all around good choice for locals and expatriates as well. Located on 3 Calle 7-02 Zona 1 in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, APROFAM is just a few blocks from Parque Central (Central Park) just off of octava avenida (8th Ave.) Phone: 7765-3886 Continue reading