'Women need proper education regarding their choices on the birth of their baby'

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Pregnancy Awareness Week, which runs from 10 to 16 February, aims to spread information that promotes healthy pregnancies. Good care during pregnancy is important for the health of the mother and the development of the unborn baby.

Pregnancy is a crucial time to promote healthy behaviour and parenting skills.

“As an expectant mother, you can empower yourself to make the most of your pregnancy by being prepared for the changes your body will go through, as well as the fluctuating emotions you might experience,” says Howard Manyonga, an obstetrician and the Head of The Birthing Team.

“This will help you make the best possible health decisions for you and your baby.”

Manyonga highlights four key points for pregnant women to consider: 

Prenatal care is important 

Tests and routine check-ups during pregnancy are vital to a safe delivery. The risk of premature delivery or an emergency c-section is higher, if women do not have access to adequate care in the months leading up to childbirth.

Regular visits with a midwife allow for proper monitoring of foetal growth and picking up complications as they arise. 

Also read here about healthy nutrition during pregnancy: Pregnant? This is what and how you should eat

Maintain a healthy diet 

Along with eating a balanced diet, pregnant women should avoid the abuse of substances such as alcohol and smoking, to ensure healthy foetal development.

Taking prenatal vitamins is a good way to ensure your baby is getting the nutrients they need to grow. 

Costs can be unpredictable

Many women forget to budget for the possibility of an emergency c-section, extra hospital days and specialist fees. For women who are uninsured this can be an incredibly high out-of-pocket expense.

Taking these costs into consideration early during pregnancy can help parents manage their care and budget efficiently. 

Also see here: Everything you’ve ever needed to know about morning sickness

You are protected by labour law

It is illegal to dismiss a woman because she is pregnant.

This means that you cannot be discriminated against in your workplace and your employer must make allowances, which allow you to work without causing harm to your baby.

Also read: Pregnant and facing retrenchment: What are my rights?

“Women need proper education regarding their choices on the birth of their baby,” says Manyonga.

“They should be able to make informed decisions on how to best manage their pregnancy and how they want to deliver.”

Compiled for Parent24 by The Birthing Team

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