Pregnancy is Changing in South Africa and Botswana!

I am blessed to be an ICCE (previously also served on the Board) and do monthly pregnancy classes for moms-to-be in South Africa and Botswana. Over the recent years since COVID, we’ve seen in our classes (not new) but larger-scale problems with moms-to-be in;

  • Depression
  • Domestic abuse
  • Poor nutrition in pregnancy linked to an increase in hypertension cases
  • A marginal increase in HIV cases

This is heart-wrenching for me as an Educator because of numerous things:

  • For many women, they are culturally/ financially unable to go and get the necessary help through their pregnancy. Resources are often limited due to where someone is geographically located.
  • Few women will come forward regarding domestic abuse, which often remains ‘hidden’.
  • Fast foods, the downward economy, and lack of nutritional knowledge contribute to poor nutrition in pregnancy.

How do we address it? How do we make a difference? Simply put, starting with one mom-to-be at a time!

We spoke to some medical insurers to sponsor a pregnancy workshop monthly so we can do “live” interactive educational courses, and reach as many moms as humanly possible. Our idea was approved and we have started hosting courses!

Our workshop focuses on issues like:

  • Why certain foods are just a no-go – what possible risks there are for mom & baby;
  • Herbs & medicines – Quite often moms take herbs and ‘medicine’ (as culturally handed down from time) that have potential risks for mom & baby;
  • Dealing with domestic abuse, depression, high risk illness – what other resources are out there; things that she can do to uplift herself;
  • Common ailments in pregnancy and how to naturally manage it; weight gain; how many medical contact points she must have during pregnancy; and,
  • Her birthing options and the importance of breastfeeding/ skin-to-skin.

Now and then, I catch my breath when someone says, “I didn’t know the impact food made in pregnancy”; “I didn’t know that I could get medication in pregnancy to deal with my depression,”. When domestic abuse is brought up, the class does become quiet. They aren’t ready to talk yet. We provide them with many resources they can access in their private capacity, letting them know they are not alone in this and many have similar problems. There is help.

It has been a pleasure to see that during class, quite a few moms will form a WhatsApp group to support and share with each other. I am very lucky to be an ICCE, to do what I do. I am blessed.

Love as always,

Deryse van Aardt – Johannesburg, South Africa

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