Christmas babies bring cheer across the country

2017-12-25 16:59

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Johannesburg - A very special kind of joy was presented to hundreds of expectant parents, as Christmas Day marked the arrival of new daughters and sons across the country.

Gauteng welcomed at least 389 bundles of joy and some of them born at Tembisa Hospital, just outside Midrand.

A set of Christmas twins was among the births.

The Eastern Cape also recorded the birth of a set of twins, boasting a total number of 189 Christmas births.

By 09:00, Limpopo Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba had welcomed 54 babies – 30 boys and 24 girls. The figure was later revised to 173, with 95 boys and 78 girls. 

"[The] MEC calls upon absent fathers to be there in supporting mothers to raise their children safely," read a statement from her office.

'Breast is best'

Ramathuba also urged new mothers to remember the importance of breastfeeding and immunisation.

Meanwhile, in the North West, provincial officials were celebrating the birth of 72 of their youngest residents.

The Western Cape had welcomed 36 newborns. Sixteen were born in the city and the other 20 arrived in rural districts in the province, by early morning.

"The Western Cape [department of health] congratulates all the new arrivals...on this joyous Christmas Day," said spokesperson Simone Carelse.

The Northern Cape welcomed a total of 52 babies.

Amid the celebration of 87 births in the province, KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo had a serious message.

Concern over teen mothers

He expressed concern over the fact that three of the mothers who had given birth were only 16-years-old.

"We are always concerned when young people fall pregnant...because it is very unsafe," Dhlomo said in a statement issued by his department.

"If you’re a young person under the age of 18, and you’re [giving birth to] a big baby, which does happen, chances of [giving birth] safely are slim. It actually places the mother’s own life and the baby’s in danger."

He called on young people to either abstain from sex or use both condoms or other contraceptives.

Making use of antenatal clinics

Dhlomo was also shocked that one of the mothers, who gave birth at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban, had never attended an antenatal clinic.

"Antenatal clinics should be non-negotiable because, when we know your condition as a mother, when we detect any challenges early, even if you are HIV positive, we can guarantee your safety and that of your baby," he said.

The MEC also urged South African citizens to remember that everyone could give the gift of life through donating blood.

"The blood that you donate could actually save lives. And that is the most precious contribution that you can make."

A total of 49 babies were born in the Free State - 24 females and 25 males.

*This story has been updated to include the latest figures

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