In the Philippines, church workers are helping educate pregnant women about how to keep themselves and their babies healthy.
Pregnancy usually means extra doctor visits to make sure the mother and baby stay healthy.
Some women, however, don’t have this option because either they live in a remote village or it’s not traditional practice. They often don’t realize the many health benefits that preventative care can offer both them and their child.
In the Philippines, World Challenge partners have begun offering “mothers’ classes” for pregnant women in rural or poorer areas.
Sharing Christ Through Health Lessons
Most recently, trainers have formed classes each with ten women in four different villages. They team up with local midwives to cover a wider range of health topics for these ladies as well as giving them a familiar face to contact when the baby is ready to be born.
The first lesson is usually about how God designed the human body and the nutritional needs a woman has specifically when pregnant.
With the midwife, they then train women about hygiene to help avoid infections that could hurt the baby and make labor more dangerous. These ladies also learn to identify higher risk pregnancies so they know when to seek professional help and also methods to take care of themselves at home in less dangerous situations.
“Women who attended the mothers’ classes are very interested to know more about the word of God integrated into each lesson,” one local team member explained. “These are to promote good health among family members through education on both physical and spiritual health.”
While they can offer lots of practical skills, their lessons ultimately emphasize that God has made us to be good stewards of our bodies and the relationships in our lives.
Several women have come to know the Lord in these classes. Some have asked to be trained in how to share the gospel in this natural and integrated way with their family members.
Caring for the Most Vulnerable
While prenatal care may seem like a very simple thing, a study conducted in the United States showed that it has a shockingly significant impact on women’s health.
Mothers who do not receive antenatal lessons and who give birth at home without trained midwife were three times more likely to lose the baby and 100 times more likely to be in life-threatening danger themselves.
Even just learning to recognize the symptoms of preeclampsia—unusually high blood pressure during pregnancy—and methods to reduce possible infection decreases the odds of a mother and infant dying during labor or from complications afterward.
Beyond the stark matters of life and death, these early months of pregnancy are critical period for a baby’s development. Early prenatal lessons give women the chance to change behaviors or add beneficial habits that could help keep them and their baby healthy.
In many parts of the world where women are excluded from the most basic education about their bodies, World Challenge trainers want to show them a savior who specifically reached out to the marginalized with the care they needed.