Post-Natal (After Birth) Health Care | Western Cape Government

Post-Natal (After Birth) Health Care


Post natal services become available after the mother and her newborn have been discharged from the MOU or Clinic. This usually happens six hours after the birth if both mother and baby are in good health.  Visit your nearest clinic for postnatal care within 3 days after discharge from the birthing unit.

After The Birth

  • Infant's umbilical cord should be checked at follow-up visits to the clinic every day for three days to make sure it does not become infected.
  • Clinic staff assist mothers with breastfeeding or other feeding options to ensure that the baby is getting enough milk.

Post Natal care

If the baby has a low birth weight, mothers are trained in Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC).
This form of care involves:

  • Dressing the infant in a nappy and a cap
  • Placing the baby in an upright position on the mother's bare chest between her breasts and inside her blouse at all times.
  • If possible, the infant must be fed mother's milk.
  • The baby's progress is monitored at follow-up visits to a special KMC Clinic.
  • The infant's father or other members of the family can do KMC as well.

The mother's health is regarded to be as important as that of the newborn. Mothers are examined at the clinic on follow-up visits to check that the uterus (womb) has returned to its original position. The clinic staff will also offer mothers counselling on available contraception /family planning options.

Some women struggle with the demands of being new mothers and clinic staff are trained to assess them to see if they are suffering from the "baby blues", Post Natal Depression or Post Natal Psychosis. If there is a problem, the mother may be counselled, given medication or referred to secondary or tertiary hospitals for further assessment or treatment.

Post Natal care 2

Mothers can deliver at fixed clinics or Midwife Obstetric Units (MOUs), which are run by midwives in the community for primary healthcare patients. If complications arise during birth then they will be transferred to a hospital up the line. Mothers who are HIV positive can join the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission service.

Expectant mothers are encouraged to bring a birthing partner (husband/friend/relative), known in the service as a "doula", to assist with the birthing process. It has been found that mothers accompanied by a doula need less pain medication because they feel supported. Mothers can request a birthing position (eg squatting) that makes them feel the most comfortable.

The health facility gives all mothers a Road to Health Booklet when the baby is born. This card is kept at home and must be given to the sister on follow-up visits to the clinic. The card is an ongoing record of the child's health from birth to five years of age.

If you are a first time visitor to a health facility, you will be asked to

  • Fill out a form and a folder will be opened.
  • Your identity document (ID).
  • Any medication you are taking.
  • Clinic or hospital card if previously registered at the facility.
  • Bring the child's Road to Health Booklet.





Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)

Maternal services are free of charge.

The content on this page was last updated on 7 February 2023