For immediate release
16 February 2022
Teenage pregnancy, the use of emergency contraceptives, early bookings, and access to prenatal care is the focus of this year’s Pregnancy Education Week which is highlighted from 12 – 19 February.
Between April 2019 to December 2021, 3922 teenage pregnancies were recorded at public hospitals in the Garden Route District. This is 14% of the total deliveries for the district.
Sr Claudine Potts (Midwife at George Hospital) expresses her concern on the increasing number of teenage pregnancies amongst young girls between the ages of 12 and 19.
‘Mothers-to-be should visit their local clinic (preferably before 20 weeks) to seek medical care, book an antenatal visit and gather information. Mothers should also find out if there are any antenatal classes in your area at your closets clinic or hospital. The most important message to all pregnant mothers is to have a support system or partner throughout the duration of the pregnancy’, she said.
‘There are also various contraceptive methods available at healthcare facilities to avoid unplanned pregnancies. One is emergency contraception available at all healthcare facilities. Emergency contraception must be taken within 72 hours after sexual intercourse to avoid an unplanned pregnancy’, she said.
‘As a midwife, the highlight of my work is sending home a healthy baby and giving moms-to-be the best possible experience during pregnancy and labour’.
The Department has various support programs in place to assist pregnant teenagers who have social challenges as part of the First 1000 Days plan, where a child’s health is most vulnerable during the first 1 000 days of its life and the mother’s mental health is important for a healthy pregnancy and birth. This period, from conception until a child’s 2nd birthday, offers a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures.
Another form of support as part of the First 1000 Days program for young mothers is the MomConnect mobile platform which has three main objectives:
- To register each pregnancy at a government health facility.
- To send stage-based, personalised SMSes to each mom in the registry.
- To allow women to engage with the health system through help desk tools and services.
How To Register for MomConnect:
- Ask someone at a public health care facility to confirm that you are pregnant.
- Dial *134*550# from your cellphone to register.
- Answer a few simple questions about your pregnancy.
- You will then be registered – welcome to the family!
- Pregnancy is registered in the national database.
- The user receives weekly SMS messages to inform them of their pregnancy and baby health (up to when the child is one year old).
Young mothers are encouraged to take the first steps by booking early for antenatal pregnancy care with trained and professional midwives. Adhere to their appointments and ask the necessary questions about their pregnancy to feel empowered and aware of their health status and the health status of the unborn baby.
Caption: Sr Claudine Potts with soon-to-be mother Grace Khedama, who is in her final trimester of pregnancy.
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
Tel: 044 813 1831