Mpumalanga woman delivers premature baby by herself under a tree

Like most expectant mothers, a woman from Mpumalanga probably had her delivery plan all mapped out. However, when she started feeling contractions on the way to the hospital, everything changed.

A 32-year-old mother gave birth to a premature baby, all by herself, under a tree just off the R40 near White River in Mpumalnga on Saturday.

According to the new mum, Baratwa Silinda, who was seven months pregnant, she caught a taxi to Mapulaneng Hospital after not feeling well the previous day.

“As I was on my way to the hospital in a minibus taxi, I started getting contractions. I realised that I would not make it to the hospital, as we were still 9km away. The taxi was full, but I was not going to give birth in full view of the passengers.

“When we approached the Graskop turn-off, I asked the driver to stop so I could get off. I quickly walked towards the Gardees Hardware Shop next to the R40 and knelt under a secluded tree. I did not even need to push much for the baby to come out. After I was done, some security guards saw me and called the owner, Shereen Mohamed, who offered to take me to the hospital in her car, but I was uncomfortable.”

After Silinda declined the offer to be driven to hospital, Mohamed posted a message on an R40 WhatsApp group requesting an ambulance. The police arrived at the scene first, with the ambulance only coming about 15 minutes later. Mohamed gave the brave mother some blankets to cover the baby and clothes to change into.

Silinda said she was not expecting to give birth anytime soon. She thought it was just normal pregnancy pains.

She is grateful that her baby is alive and healthy, even though she is premature. She is also extremely thankful for the help she had received from many people.

“I am naming my daughter Dimpho, meaning ‘gifts’, because indeed a gift has been delivered in a difficult situation, and she came out alive. I consider myself very lucky to hold her and look at her face.”

Mohamed said she is happy they are both healthy. “I must thank the WhatsApp group for their quick response. Some members called the ambulance while others sent for the police, who ensured the ambulance arrived.”

The spokesperson for the provincial Department of Health, Dumisane Malamule, confirmed that they had admitted Silinda with a premature baby at Mapulaneng Hospital.

Malamule said the baby is healthy and the mother has been discharged. The baby will be kept in an incubator until she is nine months old.

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