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.

As soon as your pregnancy countdown begins, your biggest priority (apart from daydreaming about baby names) is choosing how and where you want to have your baby delivered. There are a few factors to consider about the best place for you to meet your newest family member.

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First of all, if you’re still in the planning stages and you have the option of investigating medical aid packages, find the one that best suits your needs for your birth plan, but also one that provides as much additional cover in case of complications in pregnancy or birth.

Medical advice

Every woman’s body is different, and every pregnancy is different, too. You may be someone who requires more medical attention throughout your pregnancy, or you may even have a high-risk pregnancy. You can speak to your doctor about this, and, if you’re not happy, get a second opinion. If you do have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may suggest additional hospitalisation for monitoring purposes, and a Caesarean section may also be recommended. Both of these scenarios can have a big impact on your pregnancy financial planning, especially if you don’t have a medical aid plan or insurance cover.


If it’s your second birth and you’d like to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarean) this may be possible, depending on your doctor’s advice.

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Home, hospital or private

Government hospitals offer a basic service which is efficient but with no frills. It’s perfect for parents without medical aid plans or parents without a steady income. Working parents can also choose to make use of a government hospital, and the costs will be less than private care. A maternity hospital will have some very experienced staff on hand.

Private hospitals have a range of birth offerings, depending on the facility. You may find one which has a birthing pool room, for example. Most offer the choice between a small ward or a private or semi-private room with costs varying for each. The hospital or clinic will give you a range of options and costs according to what your medical aid plan will cover, should you have one.

Home birth is becoming very popular in South Africa; it’s cheaper and more comfortable for those parents-to-be that prefer a less clinical environment. It is best to use the services of a professional midwife or doula for a home birth and to make sure that you have easy access to medical facilities should there be complications. A doctor can advise you on whether your particular pregnancy is suitable for a home birth.

Birth costs can vary immensely. For example, one parent told Parent24 that the premature birth of her twins with complications cost her medical aid over R1.2 million. Some readers paid nothing at all for their birth in a government hospital.

Points to consider:

•    Inform your medical aid service provider as early as possible in the pregnancy and find out what will be covered (DO read the small print!)
•    Check whether or not an anaesthesiologist’s fees are covered and by how much
•    Find out if a midwife’s fees will be covered
•    If a home birth is chosen, do have medical care on standby in case of complications
•    Consider saving to cover any additional costs such as booking a “boarding room bed” so that mom can stay with a baby that has to have neo-natal care beyond a regular stay
•    Include the costs of your hospital bag in your planning and pre-pack this so that you’re not caught off-guard.

You want your child’s birth to be a magical experience, and a little planning can go a long way to ensuring that the experience isn’t marred with financial worries or unanticipated hiccups.

Remember, some babies are even born on the back seat of the car, so make sure you and your birthing partner know what to do in an emergency!

What’s your birth plan and why did you choose it?

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