Who will care for you?


Who takes care of you once your pregnancy has been confirmed? You can see a private registered midwife, or a midwife at the antenatal clinic that’s attached to the municipal clinic, hospital clinic or midwives obstetric unit (MOU). Your GP may have a family practice (although few GPs deliver babies these days – unless you live in a remote area). A gynaecologist is also qualified to look after pregnant women and an obstetrician is a specialist who deals specifically with pregnant women.

Depending on your health and financial circumstances, or medical aid benefits, it's best to choose your caregiver sooner rather than later to book your first important visit. Here you will be asked a whole lot of questions to find out your medical history, and after preliminary tests and antenatal investigations, you will be categorised as a low, moderate or high risk pregnancy. This will determine how often you need to be seen, what tests need to be done during your pregnancy, and what precautions should be taken to prevent complications.


Low risk pregnancy

Most women fit into this category and midwives are qualified to take care of them. She can take the necessary blood tests at the first antenatal visit, record the medical history and check the progress of the pregnancy by keeping an eye on the woman's weight, blood pressure, urine, position an growth of the baby over the next nine months. She can also deliver the baby. Women who are seen by a midwife also need to have at least one check-up with a doctor during their pregnancy. At this visit, it's customary to also have a scan. If the midwife is concerned about problems that may arise during the pregnancy, she will then refer the mother to a doctor/specialist. 


Moderate risk pregnancy

If this is your first baby, if you are under 16 or older than 35, if you're carrying twins or had mild blood pressure problems with a previous pregnancy, if you've had a previous c-section delivery, or have a chronic condition that's under control (asthma, diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy) you carry moderate risks. Providing your pregnancy goes well, there is a good chance you could have a natural birth. Problems that may arise during your pregnancy will be dealt with accordingly. These could be minor, but if they're problematic, your pregnancy pregnancy may be re-classified as high risk. 


High risk pregnancy

High risk pregnancies should only be seen by a specialist gynaecologist or an obstetrician. If your baby was conceived by artificial insemination, if you're older than 45, have any known chronic physiological problems such as heart, liver or kidney disorders, uncontrolled diabetes, chronic high blood pressure or an auto-immune condition such as severe arthritis, you would fall into this category. You would also need to see the specialist who looks after your chronic condition as often as is necessary during the pregnancy.

Of course, these three categories are variable depending on your individual circumstances. 

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