What to expect when you are expecting and knowing your rights as a new Mom
Every second four babies are born somewhere in the world. Most births are usually preceded by the most popular question: Is it a boy or a girl?
In South Africa, 1 million births took place in 2021 with the most popular choice of birth names being Lethabo and Melokuhle according to Statistics South Africa, both of which represent positive connotations of love and acceptance.
And, did you know that statistically, slightly more boys are born than girls with the World Health Organisation stating that around 105 boys are born per 100 girls.
Whether you choose to find out the sex of your foetus at your 20-week ultrasound appointment and throw a celebratory baby naming ceremony with friends and family or; you prefer to be surprised on the day of your delivery, it will undoubtedly be a watershed moment. No one forgets the day they turned into a bona fide parent responsible for building and strengthening the mother-father-and-child bond through everyday love and caring.
As a parent, you will want what is best for your baby from day one. With 30 years of clinical experience in baby feeding, Philips Avent has been designing and manufacturing solutions to meet your needs developed through extensive research, clinical trials and, even more importantly by listening to parents like you. While developing innovations based on a deep understanding of mom and baby physiology, we are here to support you every step of the way.
Preparing for Birth
Not everyone is gifted with the opportunity to fall pregnant and deliver a child into the world. When you do fall pregnant however you also realise that your growing belly doesn’t come with a manual for life. Rather, you are the manual, and it is your responsibility to look after yourself first and then your child in the best conceivable way.
It is your turn now to step up to being the ‘Mom know best’ in your life, while gathering information along your journey, finding support, asking questions and using the best tools for loving, nurturing, nourishing and growing that new life inside of you which carries fifty percent of its DNA from Mom and the other half from Dad.
When you test positive for a baby, your physical body immediately gets to work and you will notice changes such as weight gain, backache, and fluid retention as the pressure of your growing womb affects the blood flow in your legs.
Gestation is not only a time for your baby to grow and develop but for you to become more conscious and attentive to the needs of you and your body. Self-care means resting when you are tired, cutting out junk foods and food cravings, walking or stretching daily to strengthen your body in preparation for the birth and preparing your home nest to receive a new member who will fit into your everyday routines as seamlessly as possible.
The first trimester is the most important period of your baby’s development. This is when your baby’s structure and organs develop. Most miscarriages and birth defects occur during this uncertain period and your body also undergoes major changes.
First Trimester Essentials: Week 1 – 13:
- Start taking a prenatal vitamin and avoid unsafe foods such as raw eggs, deli meat and raw fish.
- Stop smoking, drinking alcohol and reduce your caffeine intake.
- Stay hydrated and try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
- Settle on a gynaecologist, midwife, or other prenatal care provider
- Check your medical aid insurance to see if it covers prenatal care and delivery
- Schedule your first prenatal appointment usually around the 8-week mark
- Talk to your doctor or midwife about prenatal testing to check for genetic defects and HIV.
- Check your finances, the costs of your baby and how maternity leave will impact you. Start a budget and a savings plan.
- Discuss your parenting ideas with your partner and agree on how you want to raise your child and research parenting and prenatal classes you can sign up for together.
You Have a Baby! Now What?
Following the birth, the first ten days with your newborn at home will prove to be as big a learning curve as it was on initially hearing you were pregnant. Don’t panic, this is where your instincts get to kick in and perform at their best. If you don’t have a mom, sister, or doula to support you, here are a few practical tips for your baby’s healthy development:
Do as much skin to skin contact as possible
Your baby loves feeling, hearing, and smelling your presence which gives them a sense of protection and calm. Hug, touch, talk and stroke your child as much as possible. Within only a few days, your newborn can start smiling back when people smile at them.
Breastmilk wins every time
Mother’s milk is pure elixir to babies helping them to grow properly and develop their immune systems. Breast pumping is an easy and practical method for modern mums to bring in your milk and ensure you supply enough breast milk at every feed and for the two-year mandated breastfeeding period while juggling life and a career.
Embrace every moment and love every challenge with the Philips Avent Electric Breast pump which offers a new era in expressing with a perfect balance of suction and nipple stimulation inspired by the natural way baby’s drink.
Communicate with your new-born. Talk to your child in soft tones and baby talk. You will notice they can hear and will soon start to memorise and copy your words.
Understand why they are crying. A newborn baby is unable to look after itself and relies on you to attend to its needs. A baby will cry when hungry, if it has a soiled nappy, is tired, needs a cuddle, has wind, is too hot or cold, or is bored or overstimulated.
TIP: Babies suckle to calm themselves. For babies with a strong need to suck beyond feeding, a soother can help to relax your baby. All babies are unique and different, and Philips Avent offer a range of orthodontic soothers designed to comfort your baby naturally. Of course, comfort is personal, so you will find a wide variety of soothers to suit your baby’s unique needs. From newborn to toddler, glow-in-the-dark to extra airflow, and endless cute designs, Philips Avent has a little bit of comfort for every baby’s needs.
Pregnancy and HIV
Can you fall pregnant if you or your partner have HIV? Yes. Due to advances in HIV care and treatment, taking antiretroviral treatment properly during pregnancy means women with HIV can have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy, HIV-negative babies, without it having any effect in the HIV progression in the mother. Check with your doctor and ensure you continue to take the correct treatment during your pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
Thanks to the benefits of the worldwide web and information being so much more readily available you have access to health, medical and legal advice. The Pregnancy+ app from Philips available for iPhone and Android is voted the number one baby app today. With targeted information relating to your baby’s weekly development, follow your baby’s growth in the womb, track your medical visits and important contacts and be supported throughout your journey completely for free with love from Philips!
Download Pregnancy+ today on the Apple App store or Google Play and start tracking your baby’s development.
Rights of New Mums
South African law states that new mothers have the right to receive four months of maternity leave. This means you can stop working for four months to take care of your baby and still have your job on your return. The law does not state that your employer needs to pay you during the four months.
Fathers are restricted to 10 days paternal leave on the birth of their child in South Africa.
If you are a parent in South Africa and want to relocate with your minor children, you must obtain the other parent’s consent or seek permission from the court. The court will consider the child’s best interests and the impact of the relocation on the child’s relationship with the other parent and family members.
A father can get custody of a child from its mother if he can provide that it is in the child’s best interests.
Rules for Being the Best Mom:
#1 Parenting is demanding; be available for your partner too and get them involved in helping you with baby.
#2 Remember to enjoy being a mom. Life is to be lived in the moment, live it with joy including all the challenges and lessons that life may send you.
#3 Keep the balance in everything, from sugar and alcohol to exercise and your own personal me-time each day.
#4 When you are not coping, be able to acknowledge something is not right and reach out and speak with someone.
#5 Did you know that 80% of your baby’s brain is formed by the age of 3? Do your best and you will be fine: every hug and kiss, every breastfed meal, every loving presence, and time spend with your infant helps to build and grow your baby into a magnificent human being… Just like YOU!
About Philips Avent
Listening, Learning, Innovating. Products inspired by nature and designed with parents’ and babies’ needs in mind. Philips Avent draws almost 30years of clinical experience in baby feeding to offer the solution that best meets parents’ needs. Our products will help to support the choices you make, whether you are breastfeeding, bottle feeding or combining the two.
Find the pregnancy+ app’s FREE on the google play or Apple App Store.