Antenatal care essential for protecting health of women and their unborn child
Antenatal care is essential for protecting the health of women and their unborn children
If you’re pregnant, or suspect you’re pregnant, the Western Cape Department of Health is here to support you every step of the way.
Protect your health and your baby’s health by speaking to us as soon as you think you may be pregnant or have done a home pregnancy test that indicates you may be pregnant. Ideally you need your first clinic visit to happen around 14 weeks to receive the best pregnancy care you deserve, which all starts with some basic steps: knowing your pregnancy status and booking your first clinic visit. If you’re unsure about booking early, visit your clinic for support and staff will assist you.
The Western Cape Department of Health places significant emphasis on the First 1 000 days of a child’s life. This refers to a child's life from the moment that they are conceived until they reach 2 years of age (24 months). This is a time when their brain, body and immune system grows and develops significantly. Booking your antenatal care early significantly reduces the risk to both mother and baby.
There are many things that could go wrong during any pregnancy, which is why early and regular visits to your clinic is so important. Many issues might impact on the growth of your baby while in the womb. If these risks are picked up early in your pregnancy it can be managed to ensure the safety of the mother and the healthy birth of the baby.
Since April 2022 to date, 1238 stillbirths have been recorded in the province – many of which could have possibly been averted if risks were picked up early in the pregnancy. Our goal is to drastically reduce these deaths by making early pregnancy appointments so that health workers can work with you in ensuring a safe pregnancy and birth.
In promoting healthy pregnancy and safe motherhood, the department encourages pregnant women to access antenatal care as soon as possible, especially in their first trimester. During check-ups at the healthcare facility, women may choose a companion and are entitled to confidentiality, dignity and to ask any questions of the health staff. Women who do not receive the necessary check-ups miss the opportunity to detect complications and receive appropriate care and treatment. This also includes immunisations and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
Antenatal early booking gave mom Koelthum Koopman peace of mind. Koelthum delivered a healthy baby girl at Karl Bremer Hospital after early booking. Her pregnancy was monitored through regular, planned follow-up visits.
“Through early booking doctors and nurses could check that my baby is healthy and find any problems. These problems could include if a baby is not growing as they should, and doctors can also conduct screenings. Early booking is very important, I encourage all moms to book early. It was easy to get help and I had no issues when I arrived to give birth to my baby,” says Koelthum.
Early booking can help you decide what path is best for you to follow and provide you with different options regarding your pregnancy.
Find out more about your pregnancy options by speaking to one of our experienced and trusted nurses, midwives, or doctors. Visit your nearest clinic for support.