In 2014, Amnesty International released a report on the barriers that prevented pregnant women and girls accessing timely antenatal care in SA. Four years on, a new review of maternal mortality in the country has found that many of these barriers remain. Antenatal care is crucial to any pregnant woman because it screens for complications that may develop during pregnancy which, left untreated, could put the mother and baby in danger. Amnesty International’s 2014 report, “Struggle for maternal health”, based on research in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, highlighted that too many women and girls were dying needlessly in SA during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth. Some things have improved since then. Currently, the South African government recommends that women and girls begin their antenatal care visits from 14 weeks into their pregnancies, but most only seek antenatal care after 20 weeks. Appointments are free of charge and, since April 2017, the government increased the numbe...

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