Pregnancy and Birth Overseas- Kristin in South Africa

I had my first (and only so far) pregnancy and birth overseas in South Africa. My husband and I were living in Swaziland, Africa when I became pregnant, but moved to South Africa when I was four months along.  Healthcare is better here than in Swaziland, so I was confident about delivering the baby here.

Since we were foreigners AND new in town, I took every advantage to ask people for recommendations for doctors, hospitals, and everything! I found our gynecologist from our estate agent and our pediatrician from the woman whose used car we purchased.

It’s hard to compare birthing experiences since I’ve never given birth in the US.  I believe my experience with our doctor was different from the States as he himself did an ultrasound at every appointment. I loved see my little one and our doctor would explain all the things he was checking out.

Our pre-natal classes were longer and more informative than the ones my friends were going to back home. A big difference there were the terms they used. English is widely spoken here, but they use British terms, so sometimes it can get interesting. For instance, we were told to bring two baby gros (footed sleepers) and 2 baby vests (“onesies”) with us to the hospital. We did a lot of googling of words to find the American equivalent.

I gave birth in a great hospital; God directed us to the part of town we live in now and I think it was because of this hospital. I was able to have a natural birth with an epidural. My water broke at about 11:30 am and our little boy was born just after midnight that night. I recovered quickly and my doctor allowed me to go home the next day. At home, a couple days later, I started running a fever and having back pain similar to menstrual cramps. I phoned my doctor expecting to get an answering service since it was the weekend. My doctor answered his own phone, I described my symptoms and he called in an antibiotic for me. I was amazed! The pain was caused by an infection of the uterus lining which can happen if your water breaks early and you have to push for over an hour – I had both cases.

Overall the whole experience was great and would do it all again!

What a wonderful story, Kristin! Thank you! Does anyone have any questions for Kristin?

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5 Responses to “Pregnancy and Birth Overseas- Kristin in South Africa”


  1. 1 Ashley L April 16, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Great story, Kristin! I have been enjoying so much hearing about everyone’s experiences! Did you have family around for your little guy’s arrival? How has it been being a new mom in a foreign place?

  2. 2 Andrea Pavkov April 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Like you each time I saw my doctor for a check-up (which was only three times total because we lived in another country) he did an ultrasound which I thought was great. When I had our first ultrasound with our first born at his office in Zimbabwe I remember being so excited and asking him if he could tell us what the baby was, a boy or a girl. He just looked at me and then went on to reprimand me and inform me that I shouldn’t care if it was a boy or a girl I should just care that the baby was healthy. Wow, I was shocked but culturally it was not a normal thing to find out the sex and truly he thought I should not be concerned with something so trivial. He never did tell us and actually I was delighted for the surprise…a beautiful, big baby boy.

  3. 3 krievans April 27, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Hi – Ashley, I didn’t have any family around for the arrival – my sister, brother-in-law and brother came about a month later. We had connected with other friends in ministry here in South Africa and they really helped us -bringing us meals and stuff.

    I’m not sure what being a mom in the US is like, since this is my first, but I’m enjoying the experience here. The only thing I don’t like about here is that the cost for baby clothes, equipment and supplies seems to be more expensive than back home. Walmart is definitely a luxury I miss! When I was pregnant, I started pricing out things like strollers, high chair, etc. and was amazed a the cost. Then I went online to look at some US prices and realized the costs were almost double here! I think its because most of those things are imported.

    Andrea – we didn’t find out the gender either but not because the doctor didn’t want to tell us, but because we wanted it to be a surprise. But when the doctor talked to us about circumcision two appointments in a row, “just in case it’s a boy”, I figured we had a little boy on the way. I was right!


  1. 1 My Overseas Birth Story Featured « American Family in Africa Trackback on April 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm
  2. 2 Pregnancy and Birth Overseas- An opportunity to share! « Missionary Moms Trackback on April 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

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