Book your bed
If you’re going to be giving birth at a government hospital, take the tour well before your baby is due. Book your hospital bed early – preferably at about eight weeks into your pregnancy. Take your antenatal card (or referral letter from your doctor), ID, proof of residence, an employment certificate or other proof of income. If you are not working you need three consecutive current bank statements. You will then receive a hospital appointment card along with your registration number and payment classification.
Start planning baby's room
Now is a great time to start planning and buying items for your little one’s future home. If he’s going to be nesting in your room, start setting up a little corner of ‘babycentric’ things, like the big teddy bear, the feeding chair and so on. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can make some items yourself.
Pick a paediatrician
Research good, reliable doctors for your baby. Ensure that you pick someone who does after-hour calls, is reputable, preferably lives nearby. Keep all the contact details in an organiser/diary. Ask friends and family for recommendations.
Book an antenatal class
Research a few antenatal classes and book early as they can fill up quite quickly. Make sure that you are comfortable with what you book for – maybe go to a few classes first as a trial – as you have to pay for this.
Get your UIF in order
Organise your maternity leave and UIF. You’re entitled to four months maternity leave, starting one month before your due date. You should also have the necessary documents handy and forms completed, so that you can claim UIF maternity benefits. For details and forms go to www.labour.gov.za. The rates will vary but generally, you can claim benefits for 17 weeks of maternity leave, earning up to a maximum of 58 percent of your salary. Be warned that the money might not be in your account as promptly as your paycheck used to be, so make sure you have sufficient funds to compensate for late payments. There are organisations that will do the work for you, for a fee. Vist www.moneyformoms.co.za if you are interested in using a company.