Doctor encourages moms to book early for healthy pregnancies | Western Cape Government


Doctor encourages moms to book early for healthy pregnancies

13 March 2024

Maternal, child and women’s health are one of the key priorities of the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness. Pregnancy awareness remains a priority, and the Department aims to create awareness around safe pregnancies and all things pregnancy related. Pregnant women are encouraged to access antenatal (pre-birth) care as soon as they find out they are pregnant, during the first trimester.

Pregnant women should, beyond the first trimester, continue attending the clinic regularly thereafter to avoid complications during childbirth and ensure a successful pregnancy. Early booking allows doctors to treat and manage other treatable health conditions like high blood pressure or anemia (major risk factors for maternal deaths) that mothers-to-be may develop. We encourage male/ spousal involvement in antenatal care as this helps with the uptake of services and retention in care of both mother and her baby.

The Department offers various health services for pregnant women. Free health services are available and pregnant women are encouraged to attend antenatal care and avoid starting antenatal care late in their pregnancy.

“Early booking allows for a comprehensive health and social assessment and initiation of interventions for the early detection and management of modifiable pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, HIV etc. The health care provider can ascertain whether the pregnant client requires additional care and support during pregnancy. It also creates an opportunity to provide important information regarding pregnancy, the care pathway and referral for early screening tests, if needed,” says Dr Mumtaz Abbas, specialist family physician at the Bishop Lavis Community Day Centre.

Early booking helps expecting mothers to:

  • Gain valuable information on pregnancy,
  • Find out about birthing options,
  • Know what breastfeeding entails.
  • Care for newborn babies

To ensure a healthy pregnancy make sure that you:

  • Visit your nearest clinic or doctor as soon as you suspect that you may be pregnant.
  • Book early and attend your clinic appointments.
  • Eat healthy and do light exercises as advised by a healthcare worker.
  • Avoid substance abuse and alcohol.
  • Discuss with your local clinic the need for a birth companion.
  • Discuss and plan feeding options with clinic staff.

Healthy eating is important for everyone especially pregnant women or women planning to fall pregnant. It helps with ensuring that babies grow and develop.

During pregnancy, you can get a lot of nutrients from different foods such as grains proteins, vegetables, fruits, and dairy.

“Healthy eating is important in pregnancy in order to have a healthy baby and reduce the risk of complications. Smoking and drinking alcohol in pregnancy has adverse effects on the unborn child. These effects include miscarriage, premature labour, sudden unexpected death in infancy, low birth weight and lung complications.”

Many public clinics offer antenatal care and psychosocial support. Pregnant ladies are not alone. There are platforms such as MomConnect, a government initiative which aims to support maternal health by using cell phone-based technologies integrated into maternal and child health services. The services are free to the user, and messages are available in all our 11 official languages. MomConnect is voluntary and the pregnant woman can opt out at any time.

Health promotion teams will give pregnancy education talks and engage with all women at waiting areas in clinics.

If you want to avoid pregnancy, it is best to ask a healthcare worker for an effective birth control method that you will use correctly and consistently.

“Women can access contraceptives via the family planning clinic at their local clinic or via the midwife obstetric units (MOU)at their local clinic. Certain clinics have Wellness Hubs who provide contraception including emergency contraception. The family planning clinics are open 7am to 4pm but the MOUs (Elsies River CHC, Kraaifontein CHC, Bishop Lavis CDC and Delft CHC) are open 24 hours. No appointment is needed.”

The Adolescent and Youth Friendly Services (AYFS) address health needs and challenges of young people. AYFS encourages young people to access services provided at Primary Health Care facilities. These services aim to reduce risky behaviours, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Are you between the ages of 10 and 24? Access free information about sex, your body, life and on the B-Wise App.

Take out your phone, go to, and choose the information you are looking for. You can also comment or ask questions on and get an answer from an expert in 48 hours. Once you’re on, it won’t use any of your data.

It is important to use condoms to prevent STIs. Do you need help? Send a please call me to 083 323 1023 or call 0800 121 900 and one of the Love Life health experts will assist you.