Having a baby in another country can seem like a terrifying thing to do, although expats need not worry. Cape Town and Johannesburg both have private hospitals which are the best in the continent, and which rival many European institutions. In addition, family-friendly Cape Town has excellent maternity wards and specialists and there are a number of options for expats planning to have a baby in the city.
Prenatal classes in Cape Town
Most of the private hospitals in Cape Town offer antenatal classes. Alternatively, expats can contact their nearest baby clinic or the hospital where they will be giving birth.
Maternity hospitals in Cape Town
All the main private hospitals in Cape Town have maternity units. Medical insurance schemes cover the cost of pregnancy and birth to varying degrees so it is important to check one's policy. However, many policies will not pay prenatal or birth costs until someone has been a member for 10 months.
The choice of which hospital to give birth in is often chosen on the basis of where one's gynaecologist is based, and how close the hospital is to home. Most hospitals organise tours of their maternity unit on a regular basis so expecting parents may want to book onto one of these before making their final choice.
Gynaecologists in Cape Town
There are two main options when having a baby in Cape Town: midwife or gynaecologist. Whichever one chooses will remain the person in charge of care throughout the pregnancy and will be present at the birth.
If choosing to go with a gynaecologist, the appointments are once every six to eight weeks for scans until the final stages of the pregnancy. With a midwife, appointments are the same frequency as with a gynaecologist, but without scans. For the 12- and 22-week scans, the patient will be referred to a gynaecologist.
Both gynaecologists and midwives are affiliated to particular hospitals so expecting parents might decide to choose which hospital they want to have the baby in and then find out about the gynaecologists and midwives at that hospital.
Maternity nurses in Cape Town
The trend for maternity nurses is becoming much more popular in South Africa and is far cheaper than in the UK. Many of the nurses who work on maternity wards work as maternity nurses when off duty.
Paediatricians in Cape Town
Once the baby is born, a paediatrician in the hospital will be assigned. The paediatrician should be regularly visited over the first few years, or parents can opt to visit the baby clinic of their choice where the baby will be weighed, measured and receive its immunisations. Both baby clinics and paediatricians also offer help and support to parents and are able to answer numerous questions and offer advice when needed on everything related to babies and small children.