Babies swopped! How to keep this from happening to you

By admin
29 May 2014

The country is abuzz with the news about two infants who were allegedly swopped in an East Rand hospital in 2010 soon after birth. It’s probably any mother’s worst nightmare. Here are a few precautions to keep in mind when in hospital.

The country is abuzz with news of two infants who were allegedly swopped in an East Rand hospital in 2010 soon after birth. (Read more here). It’s probably any mother’s worst nightmare: finding out the child you’ve been raising as your own isn’t your flesh and blood. Although these kinds of mix-ups are rare it’s worth taking a few precautions to help ensure you don’t have to go through a similar ordeal. Here’s some useful advice:

Before birth

Get to know the hospital. Go on a tour of the hospital and orientate yourself with its layout. Also get to know the staff. Make time beforehand to find out what the routine is after you’ve given birth and find out what security measures are in place. If you wait until you give birth to ask these questions you probably won’t be able to pay close attention and might miss out on important details. Also find out what your husband/partner’s rights are and if they can accompany you everywhere.

  • If it’s an option, it’s a good idea to have one room where you can give birth and recover and have your baby stay with you in the same room from birth until the day you go home.

After birth

  • Check your and your baby’s wristbands. You, your partner/supporter and your baby will be given identification bands after the birth. Ensure the bands have the same numbers and names and check your baby’s band (which could also be around the ankle) is not too loose, in which case it could slip off. Resist the temptation to remove the band before you go home – even if it looks as if it’s bothering your baby.
  • Study your baby. See if there are any unique features such as hair colour and amount of hair. Make a note of important statistics such as weight and length or ask your husband/partner to do this.
  • Have examinations done in your room. Ask the paediatrician whether he or she can examine your baby or do simple procedures in your presence in the after-birth room.
  • Work as a team. If it’s not feasible to have the baby with you all the time find out if your partner or another family member can accompany the baby to the baby ward where infants are bathed and examined.
  • Don’t leave your baby unattended, not even if you’re taking a nap, going to the bathroom or taking a shower. If neither you nor a family member can keep an eye on the baby ask if the child can be taken to the baby ward. When handing the baby to a staff member check they’re actually working at the hospital – take note of their uniform and official identification.
  • Before you go home. The hospital staff again check your ID bands before you leave the hospital but you should also check your and your baby’s bands correspond. Check the baby for features you noticed after birth, including weight. And take a quick peek in the nappy to check baby is the right gender!

-Compiled by Suzaan Hauman

Sources: pregnancy.about.com, pregnancyandbaby.com

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