Thursday Morning Inside the Maternity Center

Prenatal Weigh-Ins at the MC

In Haiti, bringing a child into the world is often difficult and dangerous. For many mothers, health services are completely unaffordable. For others, medical centers are great distances from home and transportation is unreliable. For some, both are true.


When the time of delivery approaches, expecting mothers often choose either to give birth at home or to make long journeys on foot to a maternity center. Sometimes they are transported at night on stretchers or on the back of a motorcycle, through narrow and dangerous streets often controlled by gangs.


They often do not have the luxury of planning the birth, let alone meaningfully preparing for it. Labor can strike unexpectedly, even when a mother is going about her daily activities, forcing her to give birth on the street or to resort to a quack. This makes her risk of dying during or after childbirth very high.


Heartline’s Maternity Center recognizes this injustice and has provided quality maternal health care to pregnant women and new mothers since its inception.


“Here, we do eutocic births, which means births without complications,” explains Fredelyne, Clinic Administrator. “If during the process, we notice signs of a possible complication, we will refer the patient to the maternity units of specialized hospitals.” In the event the team recognizes an issue beyond their skill, they’ll provide transport to facilities that can offer advanced care.


Prenatal Consultations


On Thursday mornings, the Center welcomes a group of pregnant women for prenatal consultations.


The first consultation is mandatory, and aims first and foremost to clinically confirm the pregnancy. It begins with an interview to determine the medical-surgical, gyneco-obstetrical and family history of the expecting mother. The consultation continues with an examination, an ultrasound to observe the fetus and its heart movements, and blood tests.


Following the consultation, the group joins together for education sessions on breastfeeding, nutrition and infant care. At the end of the day, the medical team and mothers say a short prayer together.

Linda. Photo provided by the author.

“When I come in,” says Linda, 37 weeks and 3 days pregnant (and looking radiant) “they check my weight. They measure my blood pressure. Then the nurse fills out my medical records. She makes sure I’m healthy, that I don’t have asthma or diabetes, for example, or that I am not used to drinking and smoking.”


Linda is a fighter, a courageous woman. She gave birth to her first baby at the Heartline Maternity Center last year, but lost the child 4 months later completely unexpectedly, without any idea there were underlying health problems.


She is expecting her second child on November 25th. (Editor’s note: Linda welcomed a healthy baby on Monday, November 14th.


The Maternity Center strives to achieve zero maternal deaths during childbirth by ensuring that trained health care providers are always present, providing access to family planning services for men and women, and offering a variety of pre and postnatal education. In a nation with maternal mortality rates almost 45x that of the United States, the Center has never lost a mother in childbirth.


Support the Maternity Center


It is your giving that allows us to welcome pregnant women and new mothers day in and day out, and to provide them with quality care. Your giving allows our staff to train, travel, treat and relieve suffering.


In this season of darkness, Heartline needs your support more than ever. Invest in this work! The Maternity Center needs you – to welcome more pregnant women, to celebrate more births, and to save more mothers’ lives.

About the Author


Aljany Narcius

Haitian journalist Aljany Narcius is currently pursuing a Master 2 in Media Management, online from France’s University of Lille. With ten years of experience in the fields of journalism and communication, Aljany is a linguist who uses the Creole language as her weapon in the fight against social inequalities, exploitation, and all kinds of violence.

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