Moms who’ve given birth at Joburg’s Genesis Clinic have always known the active birth clinic was mom and baby friendly, but now it is official; Genesis has been given Mother-and-Baby-Friendly status by both the local and international arms of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Genesis Clinic is now the only private hospital in Gauteng to be designated a Mother-and-Baby-Friendly maternity facility, giving it WHO’s and UNICEF’s global stamp of approval for its safe birthing practices, and its support and promotion of breastfeeding.
“This is a great accolade for us, and a real endorsement of natural, active birth,” says Jude Polack, director and founder of Genesis Clinic. “There are those in the local medical fraternity who believe that by helping moms deliver naturally, we are taking the riskier route. Instead they claim that Caesareans and medical intervention are the safer method of giving birth. Based on a vast quantity of global research, however, WHO and UNICEF have declared that natural birth is the safest for both mom and babe, which is a significant reassurance for our clients.”
Genesis Clinic has achieved its Mother-Friendly status thanks to its pro-mom labour and birthing practices. “We view labour and birth as a natural process,” says Polack. “It’s all about giving moms the freedom to follow their instincts, while supporting them with sound and safe birthing procedures.”
This means giving mom unrestricted access to birthing companions, encouraging her to eat and drink during labour, and giving her the freedom to walk and move about, as well as assume whichever position feels most natural to her for the birth, provided there are no complications.
The Clinic also discourages medical interventions, and offers natural pain control such as massage and nitrous oxide. “In emergencies however, we have obstetricians and gynaes on stand-by, as well as a fully equipped operating theatre should the need arise,” says Polack.
For the Baby-Friendly part of its accreditation, Genesis Clinic adheres to 10 steps for supporting and maintaining successful breastfeeding. “For us, breastfeeding is simply an extension of our philosophy about birth – that it’s a beautiful and natural process which most women embrace instinctively if given the right support and encouragement,” says Polack.
So, for instance, babies are placed skin to skin with their moms immediately after birth, and moms are helped to recognise when their newborns are ready to breastfeed. “We also encourage breastfeeding on demand, which is made easier at Genesis because all babies room in with their moms throughout their stay with us.”
All of which means happy, and most importantly, healthy babes and moms … and a big thumbs-up from WHO and UNICEF.