GIVE YOUR UNBORN CHILD THE GIFT OF HEALTH

Your baby’s future health starts from the moment of conception! It’s very important that we look after and support our pregnant mums-to-be to be as healthy and relaxed as possible. After all, they are carrying a precious new life in their bodies. Everything that happens to mum affects her baby. Whatever pregnant mum eats or drinks passes through her blood stream to her unborn child. Your unborn baby depends on mum eating nutritious food, drinking lots of clean water and getting enough exercise and rest so that baby’s body and brain can grow and develop well. Conversely, mum needs to protect baby’s development by not drinking alcohol, taking drugs or smoking while pregnant as these things are poison for your baby and can seriously damage his or her little brain.

Mums-to-be need the support of their partners and families to make sure they can grow and give birth to a healthy baby ready to succeed in the world. This includes supporting mum in a loving, calm environment. Research shows that babies in the womb are badly affected when mum’s environment includes shouting, stress and unhappiness. Families should support mum to go to clinic or her doctor as soon as she knows she’s pregnant and most particularly before 20 weeks of pregnancy. South Africa’s government health services are free for pregnant women and children under 6.

The clinic will check your pregnancy, provide you with the health supplements you need to keep your baby healthy and set out the dates for the 5 or 6 more clinic visits you will need to attend before you give birth. In this way you can make sure that you have done everything possible for the health of your baby. Clinic staff will also help you sign up to the Department of Health’s Mom-Connect programme. This is a free mobile phone messaging service that will give you important information and tips for you to follow in your pregnancy and for the first year of your baby’s life. The clinic staff should also help you plan in which health facility you will give birth. They will also help you understand how important it is to breastfeed your baby starting as soon as he or she is born. Breastmilk is the best possible food for baby and protects baby against illness.

Family members – do support your mum-to-be on her clinic visits and most especially be a birth companion and support her during the birth. It’s every woman’s right to have a birth companion. Giving birth is a highly emotional and life changing experience. For fathers, participating in the birth of your baby can be the most wonderful and rewarding experience that will lead to a lifetime bond of love between you and your little one. Your unborn baby deserves the best possible start in life!

LOVE, PLAY TALK
Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Nkomazi FM aired EVERY Thursday from 11 to 11.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana and RCL FOODS. Each week Nkomazi FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life. The LOVE, PLAY, TALK radio programme is part of the RCL FOODS sponsored LEAVE NO YOUNG CHILD BEHIND early childhood development initiative in Nkomazi Wards 16 and 19 that aims to ensure every young child in these wards has access to improved quality of essential services so that they get the very best start in life. And you, the parent, have a critically important role to play!

Get more information from the Nkomazi FM website www.nkomazifm.co.za or the Ilifa Labantwana website www.ilifalabantwana.co.za . Do listen every week and give your little one the best start in life!

PAM PICKEN
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

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