Choose the right birth for you and your budget
At some stage during your pregnancy you have to decide where and how you’re going to give birth. It’s important to know what your options are, emphasises Heather Pieterse from Pretoria-based Midwives-Exclusive, because the type of birth you have is “largely dependent on the choice of caregiver and hospital/facility you choose”.
Here’s a basic guideline of what to expect: Most private hospitals offer vaginal births (with or without pain relief), elective caesareans, non-elective caesareans and emergency caesareans.
“The decision on the specific kind of birth for each patient is always based on a thorough medical history and obstetric monitoring by her doctor,” explains Marinda Coetzee, spokesperson for Mediclinic South Africa.
While Mediclinic does not offer water births, other private hospital groups such as Life Healthcare and Netcare offer this option at select hospitals. Private hospitals always offer the option of an epidural. Other pain relief medication, ranging from Entonox gas to
The decision on the kind of birth is always based on a thorough medical history opiates such as pethidine, are usually also available on request.
Not all private maternity wards come equipped with TENS machines as standard, but you will be able to either rent one via the hospital or bring your own. TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – which sounds scary but is a noninvasive, drug free method of controlling pain. The standard practice at private hospitals, according to Marinda, is that your primary caregiver will be your gynaecologist. “Patients are carefully monitored by a dedicated midwife during the labour process but the gynaecologist will handle the birth,” she explains.
Some private hospitals, however, allow mom to choose whether she would like her primary caregiver to be a gynaecologist or a midwife. But remember that even hospitals which allow midwife-led births don’t allow just any midwife: each hospital gives a set number of midwives “birthing rights” – the right to practice at that hospital. “So you would need to ensure your chosen midwife
PAIN RELIEF OPTIONS