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: elsabebrusser@gmail.com. See www.motherinstinct.co.za


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 www.originmaternityhospitals.co.za; find out more about Look@MyBaby at www.look@mybaby.com

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 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/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 sydney.grove@omhs.co.za or through Leverne Gething on 072 212 5417, email leverne@eject.co.za

Second generation birthed under the care of the same midwife!

Sydney Grové, General Manager of Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital in Panorama, Parow, delivers father and then son 33 years later.

Thirty three years ago Kevin McEnderry was born at Addington Hospital in Durban, and he was delivered by Sydney Grove, who was then second in charge of the labour suite. On 6 March Sydney, who is now General Manager of Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital in Panorama, Parow, as well as being Advanced & Clinical Accoucheur (male midwife) Specialist, was in attendance when Kevin’s son Kieran was born.

Mother Nicole McEnderry had to have a caesarean, and Sydney was present in Origin’s operating theatre when Kieran was born. All of Origin’s midwives are trained in operating theatre procedures, and Sydney has assisted at all caesareans carried out at Origin to date.

He says: “I am always bumping into women whose babies I have helped them birth, and recently I even went to the 21st birthday party of the first baby that I delivered in water – but being in attendance at the birth of the baby of a baby that I delivered over 30 years ago is a first for me!”

Sydney was the first male clinical tutor to teach Midwifery in SA, and he has delivered over 23 000 babies. He pioneered the scientific procedure for water births in SA, including recognition of water birth as a medical procedure, and produced a DVD (Madison Productions) on the method for educational purposes, which was distributed both locally and internationally. Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital is the only maternity hospital in the Western Cape that still offers water births, and has six custom-made birth baths.

His nursing career has seen him fill roles from consultant for training and development to nursing manager, maternity unit manager, hospital media spokesperson and training and development manager. He has also overseen hospital accreditation and related training both in South Africa and overseas.

He received an SA Samaritan Award for his assistance on site at the 1998 Planet Hollywood explosion.

Sydney is a Senior Partner in the Grové De Beer Midwife Practice which services and is exclusively associated with Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital.

For more information please contact Sydney Grove at Origin Family-Centred Maternity Hospital, on 021 911 0650; email sydney.grove@omhs.co.za; see www.originmaternityhospitals.co.za