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Waiting for Baby Lily

  • June 15, 2023
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • A technician works with a pregnant patient to provide an ultrasound image of her child, whose delivery date is very soon at Americares Clinica Integral de Atencion Familiar in Santiago de Maria, El Salvador, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (Photo/Jeff Kennel).

Flor and her husband are usually at the bread bakery they own in Santiago de Maria, El Salvador, by 3 a.m. On this January day, though, the bread can wait: Flor is receiving her final pre-natal check-up at the La Clínica Integral de Atención Familiar de Americares, the clinic where she has received prenatal care throughout her healthy pregnancy. Her baby girl, Lily* – her fourth – will arrive soon, maybe even today.

Flor began coming to the Americares clinic for primary care in 2016, just after she delivered her third child, and is grateful for the care she receives from Dr. Edvin Josué Santos Castro and other providers at the clinic. Dr. Santos monitors Flor’s physical symptoms, she says, but also the emotional and psychological ups and downs that come with pregnancy and parenting. “I am happy and excited for my baby because when I start to feel ill, besides the physical examination by the doctor, he also conducts an emotional examination,” Flor says. “It has helped me a lot.”

A gynecologist provides a general examination for a pregnant patient, whose delivery date is very soon at Americares Clinica Integral de Atencion Familiar in Santiago de Maria, El Salvador, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (Photo/Jeff Kennel).
Photo/Jeff Kennel

The Americares clinic provides care that is both comprehensive and warm. Days after Flor delivers Lily at a local hospital, she will bring the newborn to the clinic; Lily will join her siblings, ages 17, 10 and 6, for their annual pediatric visits, dentistry and any other care they may need – including internal medicine, orthopedics, optometry and vaccinations. Flor will continue to receive routine primary and gynecological care at the clinic. For the family, the clinic is a one-stop shop.

But today, Flor is focused only on baby Lily. The pre- and post-natal care that mothers and babies receive at the clinic contribute to a positive trend in El Salvador—the maternal and infant mortality rates have been steadily declining: In 2021, the infant mortality rate was 11 per 1,000 live births, down from 27 per 1,000 live births in 2000.

When asked what she expects in the months ahead, Flor smiles and says she will enjoy the help she will get from her older children, as she does what mothers the world over do: work hard — at the bakery and at home, raising healthy children.

*name changed for privacy