Introduction to Maya Midwifery

Introduction to Maya Midwifery

Did you know? Today in Guatemala midwives are in charge of around 24% of all births. And the Mayan tradition of midwifery is as old as can be. 

Since ancient times; midwives have held an extremely important role in their communities. Considered to be an authority, they have always been treated with a lot of respect. 

Their role in medicine and spirituality is very important, and they have been known to accompany their patient throughout the entire process of pregnancy, as well as to help women understand the cycles of their body. 


Who Is a Midwife?

In the very traditional Mayan communities, a girl discovers that her mission in life is midwifery from the time of childhood. And by the time they turn 13, they usually start accompanying and assisting older midwives to begin learning from them and developing in skills. Often times, at 13 there will be a big Kotzij' were the entire community participates to celebrate the girl and wishes her a good and open path in her training.

Many renowned midwives also tell magical stories of having discovered their gifts through dreams. Grandmothers coming to visit them in their sleep to announce they will become midwifes, and soon enough women from the community start knocking on their door asking for help. Others say that as they work, the remedies and medicinal secrets get whispered in their ear. And others even say that denying their profession brings problems in life that only get unblocked once they become midwives. 


Their Knowledge 

They hold secrets that have been passed on from generation to generation! And their techniques are very ancient. They are experts in medicine, science, spirituality, herbalism, and the Mayan calendars. 

Midwives are known to use the Lunar calendar to support women during their process of pregnancy. In their communities, midwives teach women from the moment of their first menstruation, which is connected to the moon. By making use of their wisdom, they help women remain healthy throughout their cycles, treat patients in temazcales on specific moon days, keep a healthy pregnancy, and much more. People in the Mayan communities often do family planning in connection to the cycles of the moon. 

They have herbal remedies for women that prepare the body for pregnancy and can be used during its different stages.

They are massage experts who provide natural and healing massages that help women have a healthy womb, protect the baby, and more.

Some more facts

A lot of women in the Mayan nations choose to work with midwives because:

- They will support them psychologically, physically, and spiritually throughout their cycles.
- Well trained midwives provide extremely good care, specially in comparison to hospitals in which indigenous women have reported to face discrimination and lack of proper services offered to them.
- The cost is more affordable in comparison to other health care providers, not to mention hospitals are usually far away from indigenous communities and it would involve a lot of traveling.
- Indigenous women who don't speak Spanish find it difficult to find health care providers who can effectively communicate with them.
- Midwives offer a holistic service that is very in tune with the tradition people have grown up with.


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