When Chereen Gibson heard she was pregnant for the second time, the last thing she was expecting was twins. But she did know that Mediclinic would be there for her, every step of the way.

As a blogger, Chereen had years of experience in sourcing, testing and recommending beauty and wellness products for women – and as a mom already raising a healthy older boy, she knew the drill.

But when she was told she was expecting twins, she still had questions. “My main question was, how would this affect my health?” she says. “What should I be eating? How much exercise should I be doing? Can I still exercise? Which exercises are safe to do while you’re pregnant?”

The twin boys strike nonchalant poses in their matching outfits.

After all, this wasn’t a typical pregnancy. “When I heard we were expecting twins, I was well aware of the fact that it was quite a high-risk pregnancy. My mom had also had twins and she had been put on bed rest later on in her pregnancy. So I was very nervous. I’m quite active and I enjoy yoga and going for hikes and things like that, so I was nervous about how that might impact my health and my pregnancy.”

Food was another question. “As somebody who has been vegan for a few years, I was also nervous about the whole iron aspect. Is it safe for me to take iron supplements? Do I need to increase my dose? So that was also a concern: how would this iron deficiency that I had impact my baby?”

Questions are normal. Pregnancy signals a major change in your health journey, with new physiological experiences and higher stakes. Fortunately, Mediclinic has answers.

Over the past several years, Mediclinic has prioritised the health of both mom and baby by integrating previously standalone specialist services. Several Mediclinic hospitals across the country offer world-class mother-and-child units, designed to place mom and baby at the centre of specialised care.

Despite prenatal concerns, Chereen credits her positive pregnancy and birth experience to the support of her doctors.

This approach integrates all aspects of maternal and neonatal care into a single, multidisciplinary unit that includes obstetrics, neonatal critical care, paediatric, paediatric high care and critical care – and leads to better outcomes for both mother and baby by offering a personalised treatment plan from a team of specialists.

Personalised treatment plan

Mediclinic Cape Town is one of those, and this is something Chereen knows well. “It was really important to me that I had a group of specialists around me and a gynaecologist who understood where I was coming from, who was supportive of my health concerns, who didn’t make me feel like just another pregnant woman with silly questions.”

Now, Mediclinic has taken its research and data-led approach to maternal and neonatal care to another level, with the launch of the Mediclinic Baby App.

This app takes you through your pregnancy week by week, features a weight gain tracker, contraction timer, calendar for you to mark special dates, photo album for your bump pics, and a list of what to pack for the hospital. It also offers more information about the Mediclinic Baby programme.

This is all part of Mediclinic’s commitment to providing a family-friendly, trustworthy and reliable service to moms-to-be.

When Chereen found Dr Veronique Eeckhout, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Mediclinic Cape Town, she found a family. “This was before I was pregnant, before I was anywhere near thinking about having a family. And already in my mind, I knew I wanted to find somebody that I had a good rapport with from the get-go, because I saw it as a long-term partnership – somebody who was going to be in my life for years to come.”

Today, all three of Chereen’s children are seen by Dr Mark Irvine, a specialist paediatrician also at Mediclinic Cape Town – despite the family at times living as far afield as Somerset West and Elgin – 40 minutes to an hour away from the hospital, respectively.

Why? Surgeons and specialists often don’t realise the impact that they might have on their patients, says Chereen.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first child or fifth, she says; it’s easy to become overwhelmed. “I remember there was a time when I was panicking because I thought, I’m drinking so many strawberry milkshakes, what if I get diabetes? And I started to panic because I was just Googling and overthinking it, and Dr Eeckhout said to me, ‘Just slow down. Leave the books. Leave the Internet. Leave Dr Google. If you have a question, phone me. I’m always here for you’. And even if I felt they were silly questions, she never once made me feel silly. I felt validated by her. I got everything I needed.”

Thanks to their mom’s all-round reassuring experience at Mediclinic Cape Town, both the twins and their older brother still see a paediatrician based at the hospital.

Evolving approach

Mediclinic’s approach to maternal care is evolving, with mom and baby firmly at the centre.

The mother-and-baby approach is based on research that shows parenting is a learned behaviour – during the early transition to parenthood, both mothers and fathers must learn to relate to and care for a newborn, while their sense of self changes. Newborn babies are also making a transition from life inside the womb, and at the same time, family members are readjusting to their new roles.

Parents and their newborns have access to experienced gynaecologists and obstetricians, as well as other specialists, including paediatricians, audiologists and speech therapists, paediatric nephrologists and neurologists, and ear, nose and throat specialists.

They also have access to the Mediclinic Baby App, which brings all of Mediclinic’s maternal and neonatal expertise into the palm of your hand, offering easy access to everything a soon-to-be mom needs before, during, and after her pregnancy. From comprehensive information on mother and baby to features that help track your progress during each stage of your pregnancy and baby’s first year, Mediclinic Baby will be with you every step of the way.

The result, says Chereen, is a “hotel experience”.

“I think of my time then as a really very special time,” she says. “I felt nurtured. I felt looked after. What I loved about my experience was that the babies were in the room with me in all instances. So with my older son, and with the twins, they were in little bassinets in the room with me, but if I needed a break, the nurses would come to me and say, ‘can we not take them to the nursery so you can have sleep?”’

And the food? “It was amazing. I still dream about the toasted cheese. It was just incredible after birth. I have very positive memories of my time at Mediclinic. I really feel like it is a part of my family.”

The Mediclinic Baby App is free to download for iOS and Android users – simply download it and you’re ready to get started. Now you can also use the Mediclinic Baby App to share weekly updates of baby’s development to Facebook, Twitter or email.

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