Your preg­nancy to-do list Adult ad­min sorted

Along with the hard phys­i­cal work of grow­ing a baby, preg­nancy brings a wel­ter of ad­min. Here are a few of the boxes you’ll need to tick, writes Tracey Hawthorne

Your Pregnancy - - Contents -

FIND YOUR CLOS­EST CLINIC

On con­firm­ing the preg­nancy, your first stop is your lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal health depart­ment, most of which have a clinic where preg­nant women can go for an­te­and post­na­tal care, while big­ger cen­tres have in­de­pen­dent mid­wife ob­stet­ric units (MOUs) where women are cared for dur­ing preg­nancy and af­ter the birth of their baby. Un­for­tu­nately, the web­site of the Na­tional Depart­ment of Health is un­help­ful when it comes to lo­ca­tions of clin­ics, but the pri­vate sec­tor has filled this gap. There are 32 Net­care Stork’s Nest mother and baby well­ness clin­ics across the coun­try, sit­u­ated at Net­care hos­pi­tals with ma­ter­nity fa­cil­i­ties: net­care.co.za/Net­care-Stork­snest-clin­ics There’s a Well Baby Clinic in ev­ery Dis-Chem store: dischem.co.za/ store­lo­ca­tor Here is a list of clin­ics and other med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers associated with ba­bies and child­birth: ex­pec­tant­moth­ers­guide.co.za/well-baby­clin­ics/south-africa/

BOOK YOUR BED

You can’t book a bed ahead of time if you’re a pa­tient at a gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tal. When you go into labour, go to your near­est gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tal, tak­ing along your ID and ma­ter­nal case record (clinic card), which would have been is­sued on your first visit to the clinic early in your preg­nancy. You’ll be as­signed a bed in an an­te­na­tal ward, give birth in a labour ward and then be moved to the post­na­tal ward – there are no pri­vate wards in gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals. When it comes to pri­vate hos­pi­tals, un­less you have a fixed date for a cae­sarean sec­tion, you can’t book a bed ei­ther – bed oc­cu­pancy in any hos­pi­tal is in­flu­enced by emer­gency or med­i­cal ad­mis­sions that can’t al­ways be planned ahead – but you can no­tify the hos­pi­tal of the ex­pected date of de­liv­ery. In a pri­vate hos­pi­tal, you can opt for a pri­vate room with its own bath­room, or a semi-pri­vate room, which usu­ally means shar­ing a bath­room with one other pa­tient. These ob­vi­ously cost more.

FIND AND BOOK A BREAST­FEED­ING CON­SUL­TANT

“Lac­ta­tion or breast­feed­ing con­sul­tants are breast­feed­ing spe­cial­ists who help women who want to breast­feed but are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing prob­lems, such as latch­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, painful nurs­ing or low milk pro­duc­tion,” ex­plains Gaut­eng­based spe­cial­ist mid­wife and reg­is­tered lac­ta­tion con­sul­tant Het­tie Grove. Het­tie ad­vises that ex­pec­tant moms at­tend a breast­feed­ing class run by a cer­ti­fied lac­ta­tion con­sul­tant; that they find out what the hos­pi­tal pol­icy is be­fore­hand re­gard­ing sup­ple­men­tary feed­ing (“top-ups”); and that they write up a breast­feed­ing plan that can be pre­sented at the hos­pi­tal. Het­tie says that word of mouth (the ad­vice of friends) is a good way to find a con­sul­tant, or you can go to the Lac­ta­tion Con­sul­tants of South­ern Africa web­site (lacsa.org.za), or try ex­pec­tant­moth­ers­guide.co.za. Some med­i­cal aids cover the ser­vices of a cer­ti­fied lac­ta­tion con­sul­tant.

REG­IS­TER THE BIRTH

All chil­dren born in South Africa must be reg­is­tered within 30 days of their birth. Some pri­vate hos­pi­tals of­fer a ser­vice where you fill out all the rel­e­vant forms and they take care of this regis­tra­tion process for you. If you need to do it your­self, go to your near­est Depart­ment of Home Af­fairs of­fice, tak­ing your baby’s clinic card or hos­pi­tal cer­tifi­cate, as well as your and your part­ner’s ID doc­u­ments, and your mar­riage cer­tifi­cate (if ap­pli­ca­ble). You’ll need to com­plete Form BI-24. Once the birth has been reg­is­tered, an unabridged birth cer­tifi­cate is is­sued free of charge. (Late reg­is­tra­tions are pos­si­ble but come with lots of red tape, so rather reg­is­ter the baby’s birth within the pre­scribed time limit.) If you’re mar­ried to your baby’s fa­ther, the baby can be reg­is­tered under ei­ther his sur­name or both of your sur­names jointly. If you’re not mar­ried, the baby can be reg­is­tered under ei­ther sur­name but if you opt for the fa­ther’s sur­name, he will have to ac­knowl­edge pa­ter­nity. For more info: dha.gov.za/in­dex.php/ civic-ser­vices/birth-cer­tifi­cates.

FIND A GP OR PAE­DI­A­TRI­CIAN

This is a very per­sonal choice, and the best way to make it is through re­fer­rals from other moms. Dif­fer­ent peo­ple re­quire dif­fer­ent things from their med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers, from 24-hour avail­abil­ity and no long queues in wait­ing rooms, to an ob­vi­ous en­thu­si­asm for chil­dren and a will­ing­ness to go the ex­tra mile. Bear in mind that a pae­di­a­tri­cian is a spe­cial­ist in child­hood ill­ness, so if your baby was born pre­ma­turely, or has any de­vel­op­men­tal de­lays or emo­tional and neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems, your pae­di­a­tri­cian is the one you have to see. For other “ev­ery­day” is­sues such as up­set tum­mies or snif­fles, a GP or the sis­ter at your lo­cal clinic will be per­fectly ca­pable of help­ing out – and if the prob­lem is be­yond them, they will be quick to re­fer you to a spe­cial­ist. Note that in gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals, if a pae­di­a­tri­cian is needed at or af­ter the birth, the doc­tor who is on call will be sum­moned. For pri­vate pa­tients, it’s pos­si­ble to have your own pae­di­a­tri­cian con­sult dur­ing or af­ter the birth, but do dis­cuss this with your gy­nae­col­o­gist be­fore­hand.

ADD BABY TO YOUR MED­I­CAL AID

If you’re a mem­ber of a reg­is­tered med­i­cal aid scheme, your new­born will get im­me­di­ate cover. You’ll have a lit­tle lee­way to reg­is­ter the baby on the med­i­cal aid and sub­mit the nec­es­sary pa­per­work (usu­ally 30 days) but to en­sure ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion with no ex­clu­sions, re­port the birth to your med­i­cal aid provider as soon as pos­si­ble. (If the baby is to be reg­is­tered on the fa­ther’s med­i­cal aid, cover won’t nec­es­sar­ily kick in au­to­mat­i­cally from the mo­ment of birth – the med­i­cal aid will need to be in­formed ahead of time about the im­mi­nent ar­rival of the baby.) If you aren’t on a med­i­cal aid and can af­ford one, con­sider sign­ing up – preg­nancy, child­birth and ba­bies can be very ex­pen­sive. Best to sign up be­fore you even get preg­nant, to en­sure cover for any med­i­cal sup­port and preg­nan­cyre­lated ail­ments such as high blood pres­sure or di­a­betes. If you’re a typ­i­cal young South African fam­ily strug­gling to make ends meet, a hos­pi­tal plan with sav­ings is a cost­ef­fec­tive so­lu­tion – you’ll qual­ify for un­lim­ited hos­pi­tal ben­e­fits in most cases and still have ac­cess to some cash to cover day-to-day health­care ex­penses.

REVIEW YOUR IN­SUR­ANCE AND YOUR WILL

If you have a life and dis­abil­ity pol­icy, you’ll prob­a­bly need to in­crease the cover to al­low for the up­keep of the new ad­di­tion to the fam­ily – your fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor can help you with this. And hav­ing a will in place is es­sen­tial as you’ll need to con­sider who will take care of your baby if some­thing hap­pens to you, what will hap­pen to your as­sets, and who will dis­trib­ute your pos­ses­sions – a fi­nan­cial trust com­pany, your bank or an at­tor­ney can ad­vise you.

LOOK FOR A SCHOOL

Get­ting your child into a good school, whether gov­ern­ment or pri­vate, is a worry for many South African par­ents. Start do­ing your re­search even be­fore your baby is born, as some schools have wait­ing lists that are years long. Make a longlist of schools that you might want to send your child to, then go and visit them and chat to the staff – don’t rely on the school’s rep­u­ta­tion, as its ethos, at­ti­tude to dis­ci­pline or teach­ing meth­ods, among other is­sues, may not dove­tail with yours. Put your child’s name down at the four or five schools you like the best if it’s pos­si­ble – many schools have a short, spec­i­fied pe­riod (two or three months) dur­ing which you can ap­ply for en­rol­ment on your child’s be­half, while some schools print out a lim­ited num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tion forms and re­quire these to be fetched, filled in and de­liv­ered in per­son.

IF YOU AREN’T ON A MED­I­CAL AID AND CAN AF­FORD ONE, CON­SIDER SIGN­ING UP – PREG­NANCY, CHILD­BIRTH AND BA­BIES CAN BE VERY EX­PEN­SIVE

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