Health

Having a Baby in South Africa - What You Need to Know 

Having a baby in South Africa

Having a baby in South Africa may seem daunting at first. You may be wondering how to find a good gynaecologist or a midwife, you could be trying to find information on how to conceive in the first place, or you may be wondering where to find information that adds genuine value, without further confusing you and your partner. In reality, thanks to the huge range of support options available to parents-to-be, planning your family as an expat does not need to be any less scary than it would back home. The secret to having a baby in South Africa comes down to finding the right specialists to help you plan for your baby. Whether you are trying to conceive, or you have recently discovered that you are having a baby, we have all the information you need to help you plan your pregnancy, safely and simply. 

having a baby in Johannesburg

Trying to Conceive in South Africa 

Ready to think about having a baby in South Africa? There are a number of excellent fertility and conception specialists to be found across the country. Our recommended doctors and clinics to help you conceive include specialists in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Joburg Fertility Specialists

Medfem (Sandton)

VitaLab (Sandton)

Gynomed (Roodepoort)
 

Cape Town Fertility Specialists

Cape Fertility Clinic (Claremont)

Aevitas Fertility Clinic (Pinelands)

Hart Fertility Clinic (City Centre)

I Think I Am Pregnant - Now What?

If you are already pregnant or you think you may be expecting, the first step is to find a gynaecologist, followed by a midwife. Both of these specialists will help guide you through the process, so that you know exactly what to expect, from the very first trimesters, all the way to your baby's birth.

Johannesburg Gynaecologists & Midwives

Sandton Mediclinic - Dr Heather Derwent Allan-Gould (Sandton)

Genesis Maternity Clinic - midwife-led, active birthing facility (Saxonwold)

Netcare Park Lane Hospital - gynaecology, obstetric, neonatal and paediatric care (Parktown)

Life Fourways Hospital - wide range of doctors and services (Fourways)

For more advice and referrals on gynaecologists please get in touch and we can connect you to another expat who has recently given birth here. Alternatively join our Moving to South Africa Facebook group and ask for referrals in there. 

Cape Town Gynaecologists & Midwives

Mediclinic Cape Town - Dr Natalia Novikova (City Centre)

Kingsbury Hospital - wide range of doctors and services (Claremont)  

Birth Options - midwives and birthing support (Plumstead)

More Helpful Resources for Parents-to-Be

having a baby in south africa

If you're looking for additional resources to help guide you or your partner through the journey of conception, pregnancy and birth in a new country, we highly recommend the following websites. These sites offer plenty of guidance to parents-to-be, along with practical information, tips and other useful advice.

Get Pregnant - tips and advice for those battling to conceive

Huggies - plenty of tips and resources in the top menu

Nurture - egg donor programme in South Africa

Home Birth - resources for those planning a home birth

Parent24 - general tips and resources for expectant and new parents

Translating Me is here to assist you at every step of the way.

Get in touch with our team and let us help you, whether you are having a baby in South Africa or you hope to have one in the near future.

For more support on having a baby abroad, head over to Knocked Up Abroad,

Or contact Karen Wilmot, at the Virtual Midwife. https://www.thevirtualmidwife.com 

7 Daily Rituals all Expats should have

7 Daily Rituals all Expats should have

Athletes have set routines to get them in the right frame of mind for success. The rest of us don't really think about our daily habits - until they drastically change! 

How has your daily routine changed since moving abroad? Are you doing these 7 things to ensure you are at the top of your game.

Creating your own first class seat when flying economy

kids travel

When we first moved abroad, my husbands company kindly supplied us with a number of business class flights. We were then luckily enough to be upgraded to first a couple of times. 

Sadly those days are gone, we are now the parents boarding straight to the back of the plane bashing those seats as we go past with our 101 bits of hand luggage. Thankfully the kids are now a bit older making it much easier to watch a film and enjoy the flight once again. 

So if you dont have the miles or business privileges to fly First, here are our top tips on creating a similar experience for yourself down the back of the plane. 

Tip 1: Eat before you board the plane 

Aircraft food is never going to be good and you are often left with your tray for hours before they come back round to collect it. So do yourself a favour and eat dinner at the airport beforehand. 

Tip 2: Pack your own blanket / Wrap

I usually wear one of our kikoys as a scarf which I can then use as a blankets. You can keep yourself nice and cosy and because you wear it when leaving it doesn't take up much space. 

Tip 3: The Ostrich Pillow 

Stop that crank in your neck, and make yourself comfortable with this multi task - Head / Neck or Eye pillow - The Ostrich Light.   

 

Tip 4: Hydrate

After security buy yourself a bottle of water which you can then refill on the plane. It saves you asking for another glass in the night, or finishing the smaller bottle they often provide. One study recommends drinking a litre of water per 5 hours on board. 

Don't forget your skin either - moisturise. Nothing better than Aesop

 

Tip 5: Refresh

I loved the facial spray in the first class wash bag so much that I now take my own onboard. Its the small things that can make such a difference to your mood after a long flight. Currently I have the Dermalogica Ultra Calming Mist in small 50ml bottle. 

What are your favourite products you like to take onboard with you? Do you have any travel tips - share them in the comments below. 

The other side to Expat Life


Last week was a crappy week, literally.  
Often the life of an expat is shown through the eyes of social media - the lunches, coffee’s, dinner parties, limitless holidays………. 

What often isn’t told is the crappy times, the times that you are left alone with small children whilst your husband is yet another business trip.  Enviably its those weeks when you are on your own that your sick, or the kids get sick, or generally something goes wrong. Whilst all of these things can happen if we were living at home. But living abroad makes them that much more isolating and complex. When you don't know the process for fixing things, or have family to rely on.  

The last two weeks have been pretty crappy.

expat life
expat life

With my Husband away, and kids full of cold,  I spent Tuesday night in the shower in just a pair of Hunters and my knickers attempt to plunge raw sewage back down the plug hole.  On a list of fun things to do on a Tuesday night it would be at the bottom (excuse the pun).  Plunging is hard work, but you cannot get a plumber at 8pm at night and you really can’t leave poo in the shower overnight, can you?  No… no you cannot.   I missed my husband.  This is definitely a bloody blue job and I know it wasn’t his fault he was away with work but at the same time it absolutely bloody was.   

So starts the story of the Parkhurst Poo Pile.   

Day 1 

After my heroic clean-up efforts, akin to cleaning oil from birds after the Exxon Valdez, our kind landlord sent round the plumber. He came round the next day, fully equipped for the job, and reveled in telling me the blockage was the biggest he had seen in a while.  

‘Maybe I feed the kids too much’ I said?  

He didn’t laugh but he did tell me that he cleared all the blockage he could but it continued all the way down into the street.  

This was confirmed but my Neighbor’s frustrated flushing too. 

Day 2:

 A call was logged to the Municipality, who came the following day- kudos JHB water. They came, they saw, but the failed to conquer, something around rules to how far away the access point was from the gate boundary! They did however manage to fix our neighbours blockage, and show me that the street water was all fine so it was between our gate and the street where lies the problem.

They tried to clear it but….  they broke the big iron rod thing they ram down the sewer and it became part of the blockage.    I worried that the kids had been secretly flushing toys….         

Day3 

We waited all day.  I was miserable. Please bear in mind I couldn’t flush the toilet or run water.  

expat life

I was putting my three kids to bed, my dog starts going mental - I live in Johannesburg, and I notice my phone has about 10 missed calls - who on earth is at the gate at 7:30pm? I am pretty nervous. 

It was the lovely guys back to try reclaim their rather expensive equipment. They started to dig and dig and dig to reach the pipes some 8ft under, in the pitch dark.  
  
My Neighbors came round to keep me company (and safe) and brought shots.  If you are ever in the situation where you are thinking ‘what gift can I give a girl who has been plunging poo and deal with sewers’ then shots are a very good idea.   As we got steadily drunk the Municipality men (who will remain nameless for the purpose of discretion...as he was working off the clock) told me that the blockage was caused by tree roots between the house and the road.  He had to break the pipes to get to the rod and didn’t have the equipment to do so.   

Day 4 

They arrive at 10:30am only to tell us that they clock off at 11am on a Friday!??!! I was loosing my humour. They returned at 4pm Friday to break the pip, gain the rodding and left the house with the pipes broken and still an 8ft hole in the front garden. 

My sense of humour was the only thing that had gone down a plughole in a week. 

Day 4 and 5  

Weekend.  

No one works on weekends….even plumbers.  Really? Oh yes. 
My wonderful neighbors had me round so I could wash the kids and shower myself.  

Day 6 

Promise of arrival - left waiting 

Day 7

It was fixed late at 7pm but not sealed, they need all sorts of tools and equipment for that - which came 6 days later. 

 
I am now the proud owner of a working sewage system.  Sometimes I flush and watch the water go down just for the sake of it.  

It was a challenging time, balancing sewerage and kids, work without family or a husband nearby.  As I reflect back on the week, it seems funnier than I remember it being.  When I was in plunging in the shower or waiting for pipes to be fixed for days or washing the kids with a wet towel in a cold bathroom it was NOT funny.    
But now, after the event(s) it is good to laugh and more so to reflect that my neighbors are fricking wonderful people.  

 This one is for you boys….. 

‘When I needed a neighbor you were there, you were there. When I needed a neighbor you were there… and the poo in the shower and the wait didn’t matter because you were there…

 

Sometimes bad weeks become good memories, with the help of friends, who whilst living abroad become your family.  

Have you got a similar story?

6 Strengths behind an Expat Marriage

Recently I was interviewed for a book on Expat life, one of the questions was around the benefits of moving abroad. I love questions like this because they make me stop to reflect upon the past 5 years. The biggest benefit has been strengthening of our marriage, which is odd because this last week when our plumbing went to pot and I had to fix the SH***T coming out. Meanwhile he was on yet another business trip......

expat marriage

My husband is the complete opposite from me, he will often just listen to me and I head off on one of my rants about something I tried to organise or routine that hasn’t quite worked out, before quietly telling me it would all be ok everything doesn’t have to fit into a schedule! He brings out the best in me, seeing things from a different perspective and believing in me more than I do myself. 

But 

Its also been pretty tough some days, we have experienced our fair share of challenges especially when it comes to expat life.  The long business trips, lack of family to support when one or other of you gets sick, amongst others.  

There is no 1-2-3 formula to divorce proof your marriage, but here our my reflections on how expat life has helped us get to 11 years. 

Lack of friends - we only had each other to hang out with when we first arrived, so we would do everything together. No separate families or university friends to go see, just the two of

Spontany - We didn’t have any other friends, there were very few obligations either of us was bribing the other to attend, we had free weekends were we could decide what to do based on what we felt like rather than because it was booked in the calendar 6 months ago by your partner. 

Lower financial pressure (we had a great contract that helped us pay bills, rent, school fee’s and our health care) so the day to day financial grind was significantly minimised. 

Mutual place - Johannesburg didn’t have any other baggage to either of us, we could start a fresh and explore the city together, creating fresh memories together.

Supportive Partner - Whilst I hated not working, it has made me much less stressed and more balanced in home and work life. I am way more open to supporting Matt both practically and through small signs of affection most days.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder - whilst matt is away on business trips, its easy for us to not take each other for guaranteed, to pick up each others roles (I have to say its even more helpful when I also leave for a weekend or few weeks so he also learns what I am doing with the kids and for the family).

What about you? What are some of the strengths behind your relationships whether living abroad or not? 

The Secret to Making Friends as an Expat

Packing up your belongings, saying goodbye, finishing up at work, and the endless form filling before that day comes that changes your life forever. You sit on the plane heading to the new country, you will soon be calling home. 

When does it become home? 

  • Once your shipment of belongs arrives?  
  • When you move out of the temporary accommodation? 
  • Hand back the rental car?  
  • Figured out where the local supermarket is
  • The currency no longer feels like monopoly money
  • You know the best route to the office or school run? 

Moving to a new country (or simply a new city) forces you to make major life decisions in a matter of days or weeks, which would usually take months or even years of planning. It can be a little overwhelming, particularly if you moved alone, (or your partner is putting the hours at their new office). 

Those first few months/ year I would find myself wanting to talk to anyone, the friendly super market cashier, or people walking their dogs, any opportunity to engage in a conversation - I took it! I wish I had packed up my friends along with all the photo’s and objects that reminded me on the life I had said goodbye too. 

A recent finding from the longest and most complete studies of adult life (spanning 75 yrs) at Harvard. Concluded one major finding:

Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

Staying socially connected, with friends, family or a community makes us physically healthier, have a better memory and therefore life longer.  

So surely a city becomes home once we have formed relationships.

5 years on, I have the most wonderful and special friendships, people that have become like family, sharing Christmas, Holidays, births of children and the loss of jobs. I am often asked what I would do differently when moving again, honestly, I think its all about how quickly you can make friends.

Here are my reflections on getting out of your comfort zone, to form friendships in those first few months. 

  1.  Reinvention - expat life provides a fresh start, what kind of person would you like to be? Think about it and then try to find friends that are already living the kind of life you could you see yourself having.  Who you choose to spend your time with influences the person you eventually become.
  2. Friendly Smile - you know those people you have met that are awkward or look straight passed you to see if anyone else is more interesting. Don’t be that person, often a simple smile, warmth and authentic complement goes a long way in breaking the ice. 
  3. Make the first move - all friendships start with a simple hello, go out there and start initiating conversation, have a few questions ready to ask, and then go to parks, yoga classes, the gym, children’s parties, online meet up groups,….. if you feel like you make a connection, get their
  4.  Invite people over - Don’t worry about what people will think of your house, your children, your cooking, often people will come over because they are keen to get to know you, not your house. Buy a cake, or pre cooked meals, don’t stress about the details.   
  5.  Be quick to laugh - use humour, I love meeting people who make me smile and are enthusiastic about life.   
  6. Listen - Learn to ask questions, and then follow up questions, don’t look at your phone, or interrupt (I am particularly bad at this!)    
  7. Don’t take things personally - there will be many a time you aren’t invited to an event, its not personal, rather you weren’t in the right place at the right time. Pick yourself up, forget about it, look for other opportunity to make connections.
  8. Be Yourself - ask questions, listen, show respect and warmth, people want to see the real you. 

Lastly - make the effort to stay in touch with those you have left behind. You will soon learn who are friends that you don't need to see or hear from for months and then a simple email, or phone call and you are back to where you left off. The strength of a friendship isn’t how frequently you meet up, but how much fun you have when you do! 

 

Are you living in Joburg? Then come along to say hi at our next monthly event. Now you have no excuse not to make friends! 

Have you moved? What are some of your top tips on finding and forming relationships in a new city? Share with us in the comments below