It is 7am on a Thursday morning and the antenatal clinic is packed. Pregnant women are all seated on their rows, the chairs carefully assembled. But something is  eye-catching: amongst  the pregnant women is a man accompanying his partner, a rare occurrence!

Siphesihle Ngcobo (28) is accompaning his 24-year-old wife, Lindiwe Ngcobo.

Next month, they will have been married for a year, says the excited father-to-be.

“She’s my closest friend. We always go together if I’m not working. So attending antenatal clinic with her became just one of those things I had to do,” he says with a beaming face.

“Her moods changing and craving were bad at some point but I’m used to them now and I can’t wait for my baby to come,” he continued.

For Lindiwe Ngcobo: “It’s exciting to have him beside me and this is our first baby so I’m really grateful he’s here with me when he can.”

Khululiwe Chamane, who was a site co-ordinator for Mothers2Mothers at Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, more men are supporting their partners at antenatal clinics.

“Having worked at the antenatal department for the past five years, I’ve observed an increasing number of our black males attending antenatal appointments with their partners, even when they come for the TOP(termination of pregnancy) they come with their partners,” she said.

Mothers2Mothers is a programme that offers support to pregnant women, and pregnant women they have emphasized and encouraged mothers to be to come with their partners or someone to support them. Studies have shown that women report that their experience of labour is less painful if they have someone to support them.

Thandiwe MaZanqinqi Zamisa is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Umgungundlovu District in KZN.