Birthing Options : Birthing Places
birthing units (ABU)
have been established to fill the need of pregnant women,
to have a comfortable, homely setting with the safety
of a hospital environment at their disposal. Here women
are also encouraged to labour actively and use natural
methods of pain relief. She is often attended to by
a midwife from the ABU or she may choose to bring in
her own independent midwife for her labour & birth.
ABU's are designed with the comfort of the mother and
her partner in mind, so in most cases these rooms have
a double bed, birthing bath, labour balls, cd player,
etc. Rooming- in of the mother, father & baby is
encouraged. In the event of any complications that could
arise, obstetric assistance is available on the same
for ABU's need to be low-risk pregnancies.
hospitals accommodate women with low to high risk pregnancies.
In this setting women can be attended to by their OB/gyn
(who is licensed to practice at that specific hospital)
or independent midwife (as long as the back-up OB/gyn
practices from that facility as well) Second to the
public sector, most women deliver their babies in private
hospitals for various reasons ranging from the need
for reassurance that they are in a facility that can
offer immediate obstetric assistance in the event of
an emergency, to the need for privacy and avoidance
of being subjected to “staff-in-training” .
should be noted that S.A's private sector has an alarmingly
high caesarean section rate (btwn 70-90%) Whatever the
reason for this imbalance, women should be made aware,
that when choosing to deliver at a private hospital,
they're more likely to have a medically managed birth.
Public maternity hospitals
government hospitals have implemented the “better birth
initiative” whereby women are encouraged to bring along
labour support persons, have an active birth (labouring
and birthing in positions conducive to best health practices)
and not be restricted to nourishment and so on.
also show that the caesarean section rate in the public
sector is significantly lower than those in
the private sector – 20% (state) vs. between 70-90%
(private) as is the use of pharmacological pain relief.
of the large volumes of patients utilising the public
sector, you can expect longer waiting times and in some
instances less time being attended to by the relevant
birth at home can be an immensely empowering experience
and women who choose this option do so for reason varying
from wanting to avoid a repeat of a previous bad hospital
experience, wanting to have complete autonomy during
labour and birth, the safe & familiar setting of
home, to the feeling of being uninhibited and unrestricted.
is still a lot of misconception regarding the safety
of homebirths and which women are suitable candidates
for homebirths. Worldwide research has shown that homebirths
done by skilled practitioners with good obstetric backing
on “low-risk” pregnant women, have as safe and in some
cases, safer outcomes. You will need to find an independent
midwife to offer you this service and she will help
you arrange the services of a back-up obstetrician in
either the public or private sector as a precautionary
measure should any complications arise during your pregnancy
or labour. High-risk pregnancies should not be attempted
in a homebirth setting.
is a qualified Doula at Lalilu Doula Care. She can be
contacted on 021 703 4291 or 073 514 9754. She can be
emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.