Great news for Discovery Smart DSP and Delta members

We are delighted to announce that as of 1 February 2018, Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital has been approved as a preferred maternity referral hospital on the Discovery Smart DSP and Delta hospital networks. This means that if you are a member of either of these options on Discovery, you will be covered to birth your baby at Origin! Previously on these two plans a significant co-payment had to be made: Now you will be covered at 100%. You now have access to the beautiful facilities and services that we have available for expectant families. We welcome you!

Those of you who are on the Discovery Classic and Coastal Plans are already covered at 100%.

For a unique birthing experience contact Origin to be assigned to either Lila - Dr Lindi Murray & Dr Ilana Johnson (phone 021 911 5388) or the Grove De Beer Midwife Practice (phone 021 911 0650).

Why not come and see what you can expect by attending our Open Day on Saturday 17 February? We will have talks, tours and great snacks and giveaways! Book your time slot to attend the Open Day here: 021 911 0650,






The situation in the Western Cape is such that the Disaster Operations Centre opened on Monday 29 January 2018 and is now in full operation with preparations for Day Zero regarding water supply. 
Like every other company – even though we are a hospital – we also have to adhere to the water restrictions, and therefore have to reserve all of our water for emergencies, namely sanitation and emergency surgery, including caesarean sections.

Mom to be: Tips for a happy, healthy pregnancy

Pregnancy is in many ways one of the ultimate tests of life. It certainly stresses the limits of a woman’s endurance, and changes our understanding of parenthood and what it means to bring new life into this world. But too often, we focus on the inconveniences and aches of pregnancy, instead of enjoying the beauty of this time. This is a time to be filled with good health, motivation, contemplation, re-evaluation and just plain fun. Here are a few ways to enjoy the opportunities which pregnancy provides, so you can really bathe in this incredible time in your life:

  • Take advantage of your status – never again will more people be so willing to help you! While everyone wants to be strong, say yes to offers to carry your bags or to take a seat, it will help you take it easy on your body.
  • Don't let nesting overwhelm you. While there is nothing more exciting than shopping for new goodies for baby, seeing it all come together can sometimes bring stress about “are you ready for when this baby comes?”. All baby really needs is shelter, basic clothing, diapers, food and a lot of love. Be prepared – but don’t put unneeded pressure on yourself. 
  • Look your best so you feel your best. Invest in a couple of special maternity outfits, including some pretty lingerie. Wear flattering colours and styles. Get beauty treatments often. Feeling good about yourself helps in more ways than one and creates a soothing environment for the unborn child.
  • Revel in your belly. When your baby is awake and active, feel him or her move and adjust to your body. Filming and taking photos of your moving tummy as well as your ultrasound are some of the most exciting parts of pregnancy.
  • Enjoy being kneaded. Performed correctly, prenatal massage can safely relax you, ease muscle stress, swelling and back pain and improve circulation. Massage can also help a woman develop greater sensory awareness, which is very useful in labour.
  • Get motivated to live a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes we'll do things for someone else that we won't do for ourselves. You have several months to develop healthy eating habits, start a moderate exercise programme, take up meditation or do whatever else makes your body a better home for both you and your baby.
  • Enjoy your heightened senses. Many who have been pregnant have said that colours seemed brighter and noises were clearer, and they felt a real connectedness on an emotional level.
  • Lean on your partner for help. During pregnancy the focus is on the woman, and the partner often gets left out - sometimes not knowing how to be involved. Bring your partner to your  appointments, show them how to judge the size and position of the baby, and attend antenatal classes together. Let your partner pamper you, and ask for what you need, whether it's a back rub, a shoulder or a sounding board. Let your partner be your rock.

Being pregnant is a wonderful, beautiful time. Spend it enjoying every moment rather than worrying about the finer details. With support and love you can enjoy a happy, relaxed pregnancy.


Foods that are a must for pregnant women

Being pregnant is a joyous time in any woman’s life, from embracing the miracle of life to enjoying every small step along the way. But aside from the cravings and urges, there are still foods a pregnant woman must try to embrace to stay happy and healthy over their term.

Enjoy a Fortified Breakfast

As a pregnant mom-to-be, your needs for vitamin B stay high throughout the9-month period. Experts in the field advise that you get around 400 micrograms per day through vitamin supplements or fortified foods - an amount that many cereals have per bowl - and another 200 micrograms through foods that are naturally high in folate, such as asparagus and black-eyed peas.

Beans & Lentils

All women going through pregnancy need around 10 g extra protein per day during pregnancy, and beans and lentils are an excellent source of this nutrient. They're also high in fibre, which helps to combat constipation and other digestive issues associated with pregnancy. A cup of cooked lentils meets half of your daily folate requirement.


Not only packed with nutrients that are necessary for a healthy pregnancy - like calcium - broccoli is also rich in fibre and disease-fighting antioxidants that do wonders for both you and your unborn child. As it also contains plenty of vitamin C, this popular green vegetable will help your body absorb iron when eaten with an iron-rich food such as wholewheat pasta or brown rice. The perfect pairing for a healthy diet.


Bananas are rich in potassium and offer quick energy to fight off fatigue. Easy on your stomach and great for a pick-me-up, these are reliable sources of nutrition. Slice them up into cereal or make your own breakfast smoothie with yogurt, berries, ice, and some fresh juice.

Lean Meat

Your daily iron needs double during pregnancy, so it's important to include plenty of iron-rich foods now. Low iron means low energy, and fatigue is not something you want to deal with while pregnant. Meat delivers a form of iron that's easily absorbed by your body and can help keep your body energised. For those of who who don’t eat meat, see below.


Many women develop aversions to meat while pregnant. Eggs are an excellent alternative protein source, since they contain all the essential amino acids your body needs at this time. There's nothing better for a healthy dinner than an omelette with lots of chopped vegetables and a bit of cheese. If the smells of cooking make you feel sick, hard-boil a batch of eggs to keep on hand in the refrigerator, perfect for breakfast on the go, or to add to a nice salad.

Leafy Greens

Cooked spinach has high levels of folate and iron, and kale and turnip greens are both good calcium sources. Increase the nutrient value of your salads by passing up traditional lettuce in favour of darker-coloured leaves.


They're packed with vitamin C and fibre, and since they're nearly 90% water they'll also help you meet your daily fluid requirements, delivering healthy sugars to the body alongside a number of vitamins.

Dried Fruit

This is a tasty, portable snack that's especially helpful when you're craving something sweet. Choose dried fruits such as apricots, cherries, and cranberries, but stay away from dried bananas, since they're processed in oil and loaded with fat.



What does the paediatrician check?

When you have birthed your baby, he or she will be given a thorough examination by one of Origin’s panel of paediatricians. But what exactly are they looking for, and why? Drs Hennie Liebenberg and Wayne Hough are the two latest paediatricians to join Origin’s team, and they explain all.

All babies should have an examination within the first few days of life to exclude major abnormalities or, if an abnormality is diagnosed before birth, to attend to the problem as soon as possible after birth. The initial newborn examination is the first opportunity to assess the medical status of the newborn thoroughly, and may be the beginning of a long relationship between the paed, the patient and the family.

This examination includes a detailed review of the mother’s medical history, pregnancy history, and detailed report of the labour and delivery – including the gestation at which baby is born, the mother’s blood group and other relevant maternal blood results.

The weight, height and head circumference of the newborn are measured and plotted on a growth chart.

The vital signs, which include the heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation in the blood and temperature, are measured. The blood sugar level is also measured after the first feed (or earlier, depending on the situation).

A detailed head-to-toe examination is then performed to exclude major abnormalities. This examination includes:

·         Head size and shape, swellings on scalp due to labour, fontanelles and sutures

·         Eyes, ears and nose

·         Mouth size and shape, tongue and oral cavity including hard and soft palate

·         Jaw size

·         Neck and spine/back

·         Cardiac and respiratory examination

·         Abdominal and umbilical examination

·         Hips and limbs

·         Genitalia and anus.

Sometimes paediatricians are asked to be present at the birth when the risk of having newborn complications is high, such as:

·         After a difficult/prolonged labour or assisted delivery (including c-section)

·         Where there is a known congenital abnormality which needs urgent/immediate attention

·         In the case of premature labour

·         Where there is maternal infection.

The paediatrician will examine the baby for the next 2 to 3 days to make sure that urine and stool are passed, to monitor the blood sugar level, monitor the weight, attend to any problems or questions the mother has, and to make sure that the newborn’s blood results are sent for analysis and followed up on. As our paediatricians say, they become their patient’s advocate, which is not only a big privilege but also a big responsibility, and something that they take great pride in.


Drs Hennie Liebenberg and Wayne Hough are the latest additions to Origin's panel of paediatricians.

Drs Hennie Liebenberg and Wayne Hough are the latest additions to Origin's panel of paediatricians.

What is HypnoBirthing?

HypnoBirthing® has been taking the birthing world by calm(!), and courses are held on a regular basis at Origin. Our midwives often say that they can tell when a baby’s parents have been on the course, because the baby is also very calm! So what is HypnoBirthing®, actually? Kim Young, who runs the courses at Origin, explains all.

The world for the pregnant woman is one filled with excitement, anticipation, anxiety and, in many instances, a very real fear or trepidation, particularly for first-timers. HypnoBirthing® is designed to alleviate the factors which cause fear, allowing you to birth your baby using your body’s natural, perfectly designed, and ultra-efficient muscles and pain relief to manage the process calmly and with minimal discomfort.

Understanding how pain occurs

At the onset of labour all the senses mentioned above become heightened, and all too often the fear responses take hold, and begin to govern the progress of the labour. The body’s response to fear is to release adrenaline, causing muscles to tighten (the flight, fight or freeze response) and blood to divert to the major survival organs (of which the uterus is not one). So the very muscles designed perfectly to birth your baby begin to work against each other and cause pain. The pain causes the body to release more adrenaline, and a cycle of pain-adrenaline-pain is triggered. Added to this, the lack of oxygen in the uterine muscles creates lactic acid, increasing the level of pain even further.

The way your body is supposed to work

In contrast, when a woman is excited and relaxed about meeting her baby, and she understands and trusts that her body is perfectly designed for the task, she releases endorphins (the body’s natural relaxant) at the onset of labour, which supplement the hormones specifically released to allow her to birth her baby easily. This powerful natural combination of endorphins – which help the muscles relax and are 200 times more potent than morphine – and hormones makes the birth an exhilarating and exciting process, rather than one filled with escalating pain and discomfort.

How HypnoBirthing® works for you

By using a range of simple self-hypnosis, breathing and relaxation techniques from around 28 weeks of pregnancy, HypnoBirthing® mums are, with regular practice, able to reach a deep state of relaxation, allowing them to switch off the part of the mind which is responsible for triggering the adrenaline release. You are in full control – the techniques produce an effect no different to the mild state of hypnosis experienced when you become engrossed in a good book, watch TV, daydream, or drive (ever got somewhere and not remembered parts of the journey?). This relaxation makes pregnancy easier and more enjoyable, and HypnoBirthed babies are on average significantly calmer and more relaxed infants.

HypnoBirthing® statistics speak for themselves

Ninety-five per cent of women are capable of having a ‘comfortable’ birth without medical intervention; 70% of women that have used HypnoBirthing® used no pain relief at all; while a further 15% used only something mild such as Entonox (gas and air).

HypnoBirthing® was founded by Marie Mongan in the late 1980s in the USA and is now taught in 34 countries worldwide. Only practitioners affiliated with the HypnoBirthing® Institute (still run by Marie Mongan) are qualified to teach the course.

How HypnoBirthing® worked for me

Our daughter Kiera was born in 2005 in hospital, after a fairly “typical” first labour – 14 hours, lots of shouting, stalling and screaming, all of which was exhausting and painful. I discovered HypnoBirthing® shortly after falling pregnant for the second time in 2007, and this time I was determined to have a more positive experience, and take control of the process. After learning the HypnoBirthing® methods, our son James was born, at home, in under 2 hours following a pain-free, drug-free labour. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and inspired me to train as a practitioner so that I could pass on what I had learned and experienced. I trained and qualified as a practitioner in the UK in 2008, and have been lucky enough to teach many mums, who have all had wonderful birthing experiences.

I returned to Cape Town permanently at the beginning of December 2009 and founded ‘Beautifully Born’. I hope to help women in South Africa to have comfortable, natural and fulfilling birth experiences, and offer a viable alternative to the ‘standard’ labours that for so long were regarded as the only way to bring children into the world.

For more details on HypnoBirthing® in Cape Town or to contact Kim visit

Look at the Calendar to see when the next course is on at Origin.


Recent participants in the HypnoBirthing course held by Kim Young at Origin

Recent participants in the HypnoBirthing course held by Kim Young at Origin

Origin gains gynaecology licence and two resident female O&G specialists

With much being said in the media around the declining numbers of obstetricians in South Africa, owing to (among others) their massive indemnity insurance, Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital in Panorama has gained itself two of the rarest of the rare – female obstetrician/gynaecologists (O&Gs). The two – Dr Lindi Murray and Dr Ilana Johnson – are to be Origin’s resident O&Gs, with rooms just a floor above the maternity hospital in Panorama Healthcare Centre.

Says General Manager of Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital, Sydney Grové: “I am delighted to announce that Origin is expanding its services. Our two resident O&Gs, Drs Lindi Murray and Ilana Johnson, will be practicing from 1 October 2017. They also have admission rights for high-risk patients and those who might need intensive care at a neighbouring hospital, as well as to the neonatal intensive care unit at the same hospital. Bookings are already being taken, and with female O&Gs being particularly sought after, we are sure that their diaries are going to fill up very fast.

“Drs Murray and Johnson join our two-back up O&Gs Drs Jacky Searle and Michael Kleyn in collaborating and partnering with our midwives, and all believe in Origin’s philosophy of family-centred care based on scientific principles. The Grove De Beer Midwife Practice continues to offer its services exclusively to Origin and its clients.

“Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital has also obtained a gynaecology licence, which means that our two resident O&Gs are able to carry out gynaecological procedures, including day cases. This will take place in partnership with Advanced Health, in the same building as Origin.

“While we remain proud to offer our special brand of midwife-led care, we are now able to offer the best of both worlds – births with either midwives or O&Gs, including elective caesarean sections for those who desire them. We of course still offer water births, for as long as water restrictions allow.

“We have also welcomed an additional two paediatricians, Drs Wayne Hough and Hennie Liebenberg, to our duty roster.

“All in all it means that we are growing, and growing fast – and that we are able to offer our clients an increased array of options and choices. Other services that we offer include on-site Registration of Births by the Department of Home Affairs (every other Wednesday 10h00-12h00), and vaccinations (from October 2017).”

Contact Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital on 021 911 0650,, see

Origin’s two new resident O&G specialists, Dr Lindi Murray (left) and Dr Ilana Johnson.

Origin’s two new resident O&G specialists, Dr Lindi Murray (left) and Dr Ilana Johnson.

Why do we need antenatal classes?


Getting pregnant was the easy part! Now you need to find out how labour hormones can assist you and what happens during giving birth and beyond. Origin’s partner Elsabe Brusser of Mother Instinct – a midwife with over 34 years of experience –- runs an Antenatal Weekend Workshop at Origin. This is why you should attend:

1.Know your options

Not many couples know that they can made choices regarding the care they receive during their pregnancies, their care providers, methods of giving birth and places where they can birth their babies. Elsabe will fill you in.

2. Being boss at birth support

Trust us, the more you know, the better at it you will be. Antenatal classes will equip you fathers-to-be with tools to make you the finest birthing partner a woman could have.

3. Manageable labour

It has been proven that women who attend antenatal classes often report that their labour

wasn’t as bad or overwhelming as they thought it would be. Having a better idea of what to expect and how to work with and understand their bodies really helps.

4. Learn about babies and stuff

From nappy changes to burping techniques, these skills are very (very!) handy once back home with your newborn.

5. Understanding breastfeeding

Breastfeeding seems normal and surely something that all moms can do ... and yes they can, but some need a bit more help. You will learn all the ins and outs, whys and hows.

6. A positively enhanced experience after birth

Fact: The better prepared and less surprised you are during labour and birth, the more positive the experience will be. This also applies when birthing experiences don’t go as planned, because the classes teach you about plan B too!

 See under Team, ‘On-site supporting practitioners’ for more information. Book or enquire: See


Happy group of antenatal class attendees taken at Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital

Happy group of antenatal class attendees taken at Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital

Birthing with a midwife

What is the difference when you choose to birth with a midwife?


A midwife is a qualified and registered nurse who thereafter receives extra training from an accredited midwifery programme and is certified by the South African Nursing Council. A midwife is thus a trained medical professional with 5 to 6 (in the case of Advanced Midwives) years of full-time study behind them. A midwife is a responsible and accountable individual who works in partnership with women to provide the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the period after birth, to conduct low-risk births and to provide care for the newborn.

Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital prides itself on the collective expertise and wisdom of its midwives, all of whom have tertiary qualifications and many years of experience.

Midwives listen to women and provide the information that they need so they can make fully informed and educated decisions about their health care, the birth experience and post-birth actions. Some of the midwives at Origin also consult for the Grove De Beer Midwife Practice, and provide personalised care for you and your baby, including:

  • Preconception care (while you’re trying to become pregnant)
  • Consultations throughout pregnancy
  • Labour and delivery care
  • Care after birth, including breastfeeding support
  • Newborn care
  • Assistance and advice for family planning decisions
  • Counselling on health maintenance and disease prevention
  • Vaccinations.

Origin’s midwives focus on your individual and unique preferences, cultural values and beliefs and personal wishes for support during your birth. Midwives at Origin do not carry out any interventions that are not supported by clear and accredited scientific evidence, and work in collaboration with affiliated gynaecologists and paediatricians who are close at hand and consulted should the need arise. Every birth is regarded as sacred and special.

"Breastfeeding saved my life. Literally."

The winner of the lovely Baby gift set kindly donated by the wonderful Bubs for Babes for World Breastfeeding Week had to be Rialda Plotz de Vaal for her amazing breastfeeding story, which you can read below.

Breastfeeding saved my life. Literally.
After a horrible pregnancy, with bleeding, bedrest, severe PSD and prodromal labour my baby was born prematurely on 32 weeks. It was the toughest thing I ever went through, leaving that small little baby every night in the care of other people. She was ventilated and had a feeding tube, so I started expressing milk for her. When she was 10 days old, she latched for the first time. I was so happy, because I knew breastmilk was the best for her.

But the happiness didn't last long. After everything, I began to feel down. The pregnancy was tough, not only physically, but emotionally as well, and now that the baby was born, it didn't seem to get better. Especially with a toddler in the house as well. I was sad.

They call it postpartum depression. It’s a trick of hormones and chemicals, a misery of missed connections and neurons malfunctioning. I have forgotten, simply, how to be happy. Right now, happy is like a dream I half-remembered upon waking. Some days it’s closer than others, but it remains, always, out of reach.

My deep sadness is not because of her. It’s in spite of her, and that is, perhaps, the most cutting part. I am unshakably, unutterably sad amidst the miraculous gift of a baby.

I am unhappy. But being unhappy doesn’t mean I am unhappy with my children. Even in our roughest moments, in the times I cry because I’m so stressed and broken, I am happy with them. I love them even at their most exasperating moments. And I love my baby dearly. I love her when she's crying non stop, I love her when she won't give me a chance to breath, to comb my hair or brush my teeth. I love her when she makes me feel guilty for not having time left to spend with her big brother. I love her when I wake up with her in the dark quiet of the night, again and again and again. I love her in the midst of my pain.

It became so bad that I contemplated suicide. I decided I would drink pills - close enough to the end of the day when my husband would come off work so that the children won't be alone with their dead mom for too long. I'd sterilize bottles so that he could give milk to our baby when he came home. It became so bad that I believed any stranger on the street will be capable to look after my children better than me.

And then there are these people who rhapsodize about how babies don’t keep – those people can’t see the choking sadness inside of me. They mean well, truly. But depression’s invisibility is part of its own special hell: a drowning woman looks like she’s paddling in the sunshine. And if she dare call for a life preserver, people might not help. They’ll say it’s her own fault, feeding her baby every hour. She should have given formula. They’ll say she’s overreacting, that she’s got to ride out the hormones and the baby blues.

And the worst fear: that the world mistakes depression for rejection. That if I really loved my babies, they will say, I would be happy. So, I came to the point of planning the end of my life.

And then, in all of the planning, she cried.

She needed me. She was hungry and I was the solution to her problem. I picked her up and gave her milk. And in that moment, I felt the gray air around me change. This tiny human being was solely depending on me... I have everything she needs. So, when she was nursing and laying content in my arms, I realized that this is what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to hold her and feed her and see her grow up. And most of all, I'm supposed to love her unconditionally, and breastfeeding her is the best I can currently do.

And no matter how dark it is, I have them to care for. I may feel empty, but I make sure they know love. My arms feel heavy, but I put them around them. I am exhausted, but I pick them up. I kiss them despite my pain. They are my strength. I want the best for them. The best is a mother, no matter how broken she is. And that mom is me.

Rialda and Zhayli

Is our hospital "baby friendly"?

Origin is more than ‘baby friendly’ – it is friendly to the whole family! This is why ‘family- centred’ is part of our name: Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital. This means that Origin provides a family-friendly environment focused on health, wellness, support and the special and unique needs of each childbearing woman and her baby:

  • Childbirth is seen as a state of wellness – a normal life event involving dynamic emotional, social and physical change;
  • Prenatal care is personalised to the psychosocial, educational, physical, spiritual and cultural needs of each woman and her family;
  • Our team helps the family make informed choices during pregnancy, labour, birth, after birth and during newborn care, striving to provide the experience they desire;
  • The father, partner and/or other supportive persons of the mother’s choice are actively involved in the educational process, labour, birth, and after birth andduring newborn care;
  • We encourage freedom of movement as beneficial for the labouring woman. This is why we are the first maternity hospital in Africa to have a wireless cardiotocograph to monitor the baby’s heartbeat and contractions, if necessary, while a woman is moving freely or birthing in water);
  • We avoid carrying out so-called ‘routine’ interventions that are not supported by scientific evidence;
  • We promote skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and exclusive breast-feeding.
  • If the client wishes, a limited number of family and friends are encouraged to be present during her labour and birth ( to be determined by the nursing staff at the time whose decision needs to be respected and adhered to for the benefit of birthing process)
  • New moms may have visitors at any time if they are in a luxury birth suite, and up to 8 pm if sharing a two-bed room.


Maternity Pre-Packed Hospital Bags Checklist

Just in case you have been worrying about what you need to pack for your visit to give birth at Origin – you can now relax, as we have done all the thinking for you! We have separated items you need into three separate bags, so that you won’t have to scrabble through one big pile to find what you need.

For Mom

  • Comfy bra, bikini or tank-top for labouring in water
  • Clothing, loose t-shirts to labour in
  • Facecloths to use in labour
  • Music for your labour & birth
  • Packet of maternity pads (large and wide)
  • Stretch/disposable panties
  • Breast pads
  • PJs with top suitable for breastfeeding
  • Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Basic toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, hair ties, hair brush, etc.)
  • Squeeze bottle for use in the loo after birth (spritz salt bath)
  • Lip balm
  • Visualising accessories – candles, birth affirmations, special photos 
  • Cell phone and charger with adapters
  • Healthy energising snacks and a water/juice bottle(s) for labour.

For Baby

  • Disposable diapers or newborn cloth nappies
  • Surgical spirits /Wecesin powder (weeping wound powder) 
  • Wet wipes
  • Bum cream
  • Cotton rounds
  • Clothes for your newborn
  • Three blankets and a towel for baby
  • Three sets of onesies plus going home outfit (long- & short-sleeved)
  • Receiving blanket
  • Virgin coconut oil (it has many uses!)

For Dad

  • Comfortable clothes  
  • Warm top
  • Button-down shirt
  • Basic toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, etc.)
  • Healthy energising snacks and a water/juice bottle(s) 
  • Cell phone and charger with adapters
  • Your camera and video camera – don’t forget batteries & chargers!



‘Virtual baby book’ and ‘virtual baby visit’ pioneer visits Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital ­ – first to offer this service in South Africa


 Sydney Grové (left), General Manager of Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital in Panorama welcomes Chairman and CEO of Look@MyBaby, Michael Brereton, on a visit to see the first maternity hospital to offer this visionary service in South Africa.

Australian Michael Brereton had a successful life as a big-time lawyer representing clients like Kylie Minogue – and then he invented a pioneering virtual baby book and virtual baby visit system called Look@MyBaby. He now lives in Phuket and oversees development and expansion of the concept globally. Look@MyBaby is now available in six countries so far (Malaysia, Dubai, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, South Africa) and spreading fast, allowing the first moments of a newborn’s life and all their milestones thereafter to be shared safely, securely and privately with selected family and friends. Brereton recently paid Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital in Panorama a visit, since Origin was the first to adopt this visionary technology in South Africa.

He explains how Look@MyBaby came into being. “Eight to 10 years ago I invested in the first global streaming technology from a camera at home to view on your laptop. A friend who was having a baby said it would be great to be able to use it to let friends and family watch the baby once it was born. We are now a prime family media platform that is encrypted and secure – since we are very aware of the need for protection of young children and their images – where parents can share video clips and pictures of their baby with selected family and friends, all virtually. Basically it is a suite of new and exclusive online services for parents with a bun in the oven or a newborn.

“Clients today use their own phone or camera – i.e. their own media platform – to take the photos and videos, and moms are given their own personal code, which they then choose who to share it with. In the next few months the app is set to become even slicker and Origin will have it first. Look@MyBaby will be a rich media source for the family; for example, you can keep your scans, baby hand and foot prints and even encrypted medical records on it. We are going to be adding lots more to it soon. It can also be used as a reminder or educational service in certain settings.”

Said Sydney Grové, General Manager of Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital in Panorama: “As the first maternity hospital of its type in South Africa, offering a beautiful setting to birth and a unique collaboration between midwives and gynaecologists, we were proud to also be the trailblazers when it came to introducing this new technology to South Africa. We are all about the best and most personalised service for our clients – and offering our clients free access to Look@MyBaby fits in perfectly with our vision.”

Brereton in turn said of Origin’s facilities “I have visited many facilities worldwide and Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital is quite unique. We are fortunate to be associated with Sydney and his highly qualified and dedicated team.” 

Contact Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital on 021 911 0650, see; find out more about Look@MyBaby at

Who is going to catch all the babies? 

Here Sydney Grove instructs Sister Yolanda Sebitloane on use of the fetal stethoscope during an antenatal consultation.

Here Sydney Grove instructs Sister Yolanda Sebitloane on use of the fetal stethoscope during an antenatal consultation.

Midwife champion calls for more mentoring, training and involvement of midwives, together with obstetricians – to resolve obstetric crisis in SA

Sydney Grové is General Manager of Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital in Panorama, Parow. During his career he has delivered close to 24 000 babies as an Advanced and Clinical Accoucheur (male midwife) Specialist, all over SA and internationally. He has strong opinions on the need to act – and fast – to resolve the obstetric crisis in SA due to the plummeting numbers of obstetricians willing to deliver babies owing to high indemnity insurance.

With the crisis in obstetrics in South Africa there is no doubt that there should be and now will be more focus on midwife deliveries for low-risk patients. Pregnant clients who are low risk can and may be delivered by a well-trained midwife, who acts within her scope of practice. He/she can refer them to a gynaecologist – who is a specialist – once that borderline of their scope of practice has been reached. In other words, if the delivery becomes complicated, when assisted delivery is required, and/or when a caesarean is needed. 

At Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital we specialise in a maternity care model found nowhere else in South Africa, where midwives and obstetricians work hand in hand. We are trail-blazing a new direction for midwives in this country, with a different model of maternity care, through which we can ultimately lower the c-section rate. Then with more research and evidence-based practice on hand, we can hopefully convince the insurance companies to lower their indemnity insurance rates. 

Our Minister of Health says that 85% of caesarean sections are for profit, and he wants to put an end to that. It is all fine and well to say you want to reduce the c-section rate, but if the hospitals and insurance companies and training for midwives are not changing, how can the c-section rate be reduced? There are approximately 900 gynaecologists registered in SA, and I have heard that more than 40% of these have stopped practising obstetrics since the indemnity insurance increases in January. Who will be looking after the high-risk pregnant women and doing the emergency c-sections if we don’t have enough obstetricians?  

We are very sympathetic with the gynaecologists in terms of the excessive professional indemnity they have to pay. However, gynaecologists have a reputation, because of the pressure they are under, of using more medical intervention – which can possibly lead to potential caesarean section. If a midwife looks after the woman in labour, and there is no unnecessary (let me stress unnecessary) interference, then the woman may have the opportunity to have an uncomplicated, unassisted vaginal birth. 

Internationally it is known that midwives are the experts in natural birth. A Cochrane Review of 15 studies on 17 674 women using professionally qualified midwives found that women who received midwife-led continuity of care were less likely to have an epidural. In addition, fewer women had episiotomies or instrumental births. Women’s chances of a spontaneous vaginal birth were also increased and there was no difference in the number of caesarean births. Women were less likely to experience preterm birth, and they were also at a lower risk of losing their babies. In addition, women were more likely to be cared for in labour by midwives they already knew. They were also more likely to initiate breastfeeding, and to have a shorter length of hospital stay. (Read a summary of the report here…/14651858.CD00…/pdf/abstract

I see midwives taking on an even more important role in South Africa, especially when it comes to looking after low-risk deliveries – one of many reasons why Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital was established.

The bottom line is – there will always be pregnancies and babies coming along. That is a fact. If the gynaecologists are getting fewer and fewer, the only people that can step into the breach will be midwives in private practice or in public hospitals and Midwife Obstetric Units. In the Western Cape certainly most babies (82%) that are born to low-risk women are delivered by midwives. 

South Africa needs to address the shortage of members of both its medical and nursing professions, and needs to open more colleges for training or to reopen the colleges now standing vacant. My advice to the powers that be is that we need to invest nationally NOW – before we end up having to invest internationally. It is evident that we are already in trouble. 

We need to mentor young midwives to make sure that they are skilled sufficiently for today and the future, and we simply do not have enough dedicated people in the profession to do this. Midwives must come back into the profession and make a contribution, so that everybody works in synergy together with the overall goal that nurses and midwives must come back to the bedside of the patient, particularly in obstetrics, so that they can be the eyes and ears of the for those specialist obstetricians and gynaecologists who currently fear to leave their patients in labour.

Of utmost importance to me is that we all need to change our attitudes and work in synergy together, i.e. government services and private health care, and not in isolation from each other. The obstetric model in South Africa has failed and we cannot afford this state of affairs any longer. A summit should be held to discuss this as soon as possible.

For further information or discussion please contact me directly on 074 101 6704; email or through Leverne Gething on 072 212 5417, email