Abraham de Jesús, CIET field coordinator, shares the results of the baseline study with traditional midwives and community health promoters in Xochis

There have been various changes in my life since I started to participate in this project as the field coordinator. First, I gained in-depth knowledge about traditional midwifery. It’s something that I knew existed in my village, but I didn’t really know what it consisted of. A positive experience for me was getting to know several midwives, their methods and their way of interacting with women during and after their pregnancies.

This project has also given me the experience and feeling of being a researcher because it is the first time I’ve been involved in research. The knowledge that I am taking part in something that has never been done before, like giving full support to traditional midwifery and seeing whether it works, gives me great satisfaction.

Being in charge of a project in the place where I grew up also gives me a feeling of responsibility. As a doctor I have a responsibility to my patients, but as a fieldwork coordinator I now have a responsibility to the community and the people that I work with. As the field coordinator, I am responsible to make sure everything goes well and when problems arise I find a way to resolve them.

As a doctor I have learned to trust traditional midwives. On several occasions when we arrived to the birth centres they were attending a woman giving birth. I admit that the first few times I didn’t know what to do: should I let her attend the birth as she normally does or should I stay in case something happens to the woman? I understood that they have been doing this work for years and that they have enough experience. A woman can have complete confidence when being attended by a midwife.

I have changed the way I see and attend a birth; now I feel that I know what pregnancy and birth mean to Nancue Ñomndaa women. As for the birthing position, since starting this project three years ago I decided that the births I attend would be in the vertical position (like the midwives) unless a woman prefers the other way.

Another change that I have seen is that I have gained the respect of the midwives. They are confident about bringing women who are giving birth to my office and together we attend the birth, always in the vertical position. It is teamwork; I attend the birth and they give confidence, security and value to the woman so that she can give birth.

As the project coordinator I have observed that the communities are starting to value traditional midwifery again. At the beginning of this project you didn’t hear much about the topic, but now it is something that people talk about. They have positive views about the work of the midwife, the apprentice and the promoter.