By Lindsay Sullivan May 31, 2018 Topics: Maternal Health Women and Children Cecilia gripped the worn handle above the passenger window and winced. She had been riding in the hired truck since dawn and it was nearing afternoon. She closed her eyes and fought to steady her breathing. The truck climbed Chicamán’s winding roads, through the mist of Guatemala’s cloud forest. Cecilia’s hand rested on her swollen belly. She silently pleaded to her unborn child to stay inside of her until they arrived at a hospital. It was the longest nine hours of her life. Yet she had no choice but to make the journey. The bleeding and cramps were signs that she and her baby were in grave danger. She knew this because she had been taught about danger signs in pregnancy. She was taught by mother counselors, who were trained by Medical Teams International. Labor pains had previously left Cecilia in agony for days. Tears stung her eyes as she remembered her most recent pregnancy. Four years ago, she had similar warning signs. She ended up losing that baby. This time, mother counselors had encouraged Cecilia to get checkups at the health center. When she began bleeding, they urged her to go quickly to the hospital. Although she was frightened, Cecilia fully trusted these women. She made it to the hospital just in time, and welcomed her fourth child, a healthy baby named Ervin, into the world. A Medical Teams’ staff member plays with Cecilia’s baby. A World of Difference in Rural Guatemala For four years, you’ve helped save the lives of mothers like Cecilia and their babies in communities across rural Guatemala. You’ve made a real difference: Reduced diarrhea because of good hygiene practices like washing hands and access to clean water. Reduced pneumonia because of the construction of improved stoves to reduce smoke inhalation. Healthier mothers because pregnant women are getting care during pregnancy and after birth. Healthier babies because mothers learn about healthy breastfeeding practices and danger signs in newborns. Healthier children because they attend growth monitoring sessions and receive good nutrition. Empowered mothers who are confidently able to care for themselves and their families. Much of this work has been done by generous international volunteers. Teams of volunteers work alongside community members to build stoves, latrines and water systems. We also partner with Providence Saint Joseph Health, who send teams of medical professionals to train health care providers in Guatemala. Here’s What Health Looks Like Volunteers work alongside locals to build a water system. Volunteers and locals dig a water system. Mothers learn about handwashing. Mothers learn how to prepare nutritious foods. A baby is weighed at a growth monitoring session. Give now to help vulnerable mothers like Cecilia in Guatemala and around the world.