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Giving Birth

Information about the facilities for giving birth in South Africa and what post-natal support you can expect...

The midwife or nurse and/or doctor is present when a baby is born. However, birthing facilities in South Africa vary. In rural areas, mothers may give birth in community health centres and/or district hospitals; however, these do have high maternal mortality rates.

In more populated areas it is usual to go to provincial tertiary and national central hospitals where wards can be crowded. Mothers may also give birth at home. Mothers stay in hospital for post-natal checks and until a paediatrician has seen the baby.

In the private sector, mothers have the option of giving birth in a hospital or at home. It is necessary to discuss options with the private healthcare facility.

Pain relief is readily available at private health care facilities, but public health care facilities are a different matter. Rural public health care facilities have fewer resources.

Post-natal care

Private healthcare offers excellent postpartum care. However, there are set guidelines for postpartum care in public healthcare. Midwives are usually responsible for postpartum care in the public healthcare system; in private care this may be provided by a paediatrician.

Midwives provide post-natal care up until the baby is 28 days old, if necessary; otherwise, the baby and mother are handed over to the care of a health visitor when the baby is between ten and 14 days old.

Postnatal care in hospital usually involves three check-ups:

  1. Post-natal check: a midwife checks the baby's temperature, pulse and blood pressure once a day, and checks the mother as well. Postnatal exercises are also discussed.
  2. Baby check: babies are checked for jaundice, infections and general health.
  3. Paediatric check: a paediatrician checks the baby before he or she leaves hospital, especially the baby's heart beat and hips.
    Public hospitals may charge a minimum fee for this service.
  • For more details about post-natal care: Click here
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