Your A - Z guide to a government hospital birth
If giving birth in a private medical facility is impossible for you, you'll find our guide useful in researching the government hospital option.

The initial elation of becoming a parent can quickly be overshadowed by the terror of having to pay sky-high medical fees.

And it's easy to assume that receiving the best care is only possible via private medical establishments because government facilities have been stigmatised for poor-quality service. 

Contrary to this perception, it is indeed possible to get quality treatment from your local government hospital – with some like the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town gaining international recognition

All South Africans have a right to free maternity treatment during pregnancy as well as postnatal care after baby is born, and we've written extensively on every aspect of what you can expect – from practical advice from experts to the lived experience of other mothers – which you'll find useful in guiding your choice.

Use the index below to research your options. 

Expert guidance

Answered: What you can expect from your government hospital birth 

Avoid nasty surprises! Read what both professionals and moms who have been there had to say about giving birth in a government hospital. By Cath Jenkin, Your Pregnancy.  

5 things you need to know to prepare for your government hospital birth 

From official documentation, booking your hospital bed and your rights as a patient, we get practical about exactly what will be required of you when heading to your local government hospital to give birth. By Sr Burgie Ireland, Your Pregnancy 

What other moms had to say 

Reader's Respond: Giving birth at a government hospital 

Here's what our readers have to say about giving birth at government hospitals.

SA's government hospitals: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly  

More women from across South Africa tell us about their experiences giving birth at government hospitals. 

"Hospital birth? Never again!"  

A reader shares her horrific birth experience and vows to never give birth in a hospital again.

Navigating hospital protocol 

Hospital admin when you're in labour 

If your man is a scatter-brain (or a panic mechanic), make sure he knows the route to the hospital and has enough petrol in the car at all times! Your Pregnancy

How much does it cost to have a baby in South Africa? 

The real cost of having a baby in South Africa (in 2017) and where the money goes in baby's first year. By Julia Boltt, Your Pregnancy 

Getting organised 

What do I pack in my hospital bag for labour? 

It’s never too early to pack your suitcase. Here’s our list of must-haves to see you through the first exciting days in hospital...Your Pregnancy 

Hospital bags from around the world

7 women share what they've packed for the labour ward. By Caira-lee Durand 

How to choose your hospital for birth 

Consider these 12 questions when you choose your hospital. Health24

Where’s the best place to give birth in South Africa? 

Expectant parents have lots of choices to make when it comes to making a birth plan.

What about medical aid? 

Medical aid: Not covered? 

What to do when you fall pregnant but don't have medical insurance.  

Affordable maternity care for moms without medical aid 

A new initiative looks at making giving birth at private hospitals more affordable for moms without the finances to do so.

Are you planning on giving birth at a government hospital? Do you have any particular concerns? Tell us by emailing to and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  


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