Best Private Option For a Natural Birth?

(93 Posts)
DaisyBug Thu 04-Apr-13 19:23:45

Not pregnant yet but wondering....

Now that John and Lizzy's no longer do births, what's the best option for those who'd prefer a back-to-nature approach and aren't averse to a bit of whale music? The likes of The Portland/Lindo Wing/etc. don't seem to be very geared-up to this. Or am I out of touch?

I would have considered an independent midwife at home but, with this option likely to be disappear shortly too and availability of NHS midwives for homebirths being something a lottery, I'm wondering if there are any other avenues I should be exploring?

HarderToKidnap Mon 15-Apr-13 09:58:18

A friend I qualified with works on the midwife bit at the Portland, you can book directly there I think and have totally midwife-led care, pools, etc the lot. There are only, I think, 4 midwives there and you meet and get to know them all and two of them present at your birth. Friend loves it.

LaVolcan Mon 15-Apr-13 09:39:19

CS's rates have rocketed since the 1980s when they were about 8%, and yet I don't think the mortality rates have changed much at all since then.

Chunderella Mon 15-Apr-13 09:22:06

Whether it explains the big rise in rates is the $64,000 question TheNewSchmoo. None of us know the answer, because the current state of affairs is unprecedented.

TheNewShmoo Sun 14-Apr-13 23:35:14

Yes that's true and I guess lifestyle changes etc, but not sure that would explain such a massive rise in rates? Think change in psychology and how childbirth is perceived, but that's very much affected by policy also.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 23:19:07

We have more sections partly because mothers are a lot older on average now, I have heard.

TheNewShmoo Sun 14-Apr-13 23:02:37

Sorry that first sentence appears callous- I don't mean you have to be dying to qualify for a c-section!

TheNewShmoo Sun 14-Apr-13 22:49:08

Caesarean rates were less than 3% in the 1950's - not an age typified of women/babies dying in childbirth either. I don't suspect as a species we have biologically devolved that much with regards to our capacity for natural childbirth in the space of 60 years for the 'normal' rate to jump so massively to 25-33%? hmm

Unfortunately our NHS hospitals are at full capacity and labour needs to be run on a tight schedule. If you are not dilating at an 'acceptable' rate of 1 cm per hour you will come under pressure to have things sped up. At a birth centre (which should be pro-natural) I had to really fight: against having an internal in the middle of transitioning (there was no reason for any worry), to have extended time with the cord uncut and left pulsating, and the right to naturally birth the placenta. I was booted out of the (lovely) room an hour after the birth so I guess this was why! But all these things aside, it was still a great experience.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 14-Apr-13 19:38:28

Thank you very much!

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 18:04:20

Have done so Harriet.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 14-Apr-13 17:17:11

Would you mind pm-ing me with the name of the mw? I have just moved to near Cambridge and am worried about the Rosie.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 17:13:26

No, at home but under care of indi mw and Rosie consultant called Alison something.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sun 14-Apr-13 11:46:18

Did you have your baby in the Rosie in 09 Boffinmum?

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 08:50:57

I had babies in 1987, 1998, 2001 and 2009.

In 1987 services seemed pretty old fashioned. I recall even being offered an enema and a shave (which I declined in disgust). Hospitals were dirty, staffing levels low, epidurals hard to come by, and you had to make a fuss to get a HB.

1998 was a bad year in London and maternity services were in meltdown. I ended up having an independent mw for a HB after I was nearly admitted for pre eclampsia by the NHS after some random frazzled mw mixed up my noted with someone else's.

2001 I had moved to Cambridge and had an NHS HB of the same high standard as the 1998 independent one in London.

2009 baby boom meant I was initially badly neglected by the NHS, really badly, and I had to go private again, although I did see an NHS consultant once a month because of complications, with my independent mw in attendance.

Ultimately it is a numbers game. If it's a busy time, care often suffers. If it's quieter, you get an excellent standard of care from the NHS. That's what needs addressing - managing peaks and troughs.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 14-Apr-13 08:31:28

I was out of catchment but still gave birth there, this was last year. You do have the right to choose which hospital you give birth in, although yes St Thomas' are popular they will consider out of area patients depending on capacity.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sat 13-Apr-13 22:55:20

Starlight, when I went the unit had recently moved to a new building on the cottage hospital site and the unit rooms were also being used by the antenatal care team for routine appointments. My tour was in spring 2011 and they told us then it was their third building on the site.

WouldBeHarrietVane Sat 13-Apr-13 22:51:50

Pobble, St Thomas's are so popular they now have a very strict catchment rule for NHS patients.

If I could have got in there on the NHS I would, but I was out of catchment. Afaik it is pretty much the best rated NHS maternity unity in central London.

There are very definite risks to an NHS birth in central London, including the hospital being full, reduced mw presence during the labour (one mw between several labouring women) etc etc

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 13-Apr-13 17:34:54

*Home from Home unit, I meant.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 13-Apr-13 17:31:39

I had a natural birth, used the bath, pool, gym ball etc at St Thomas' home from unit. On the NHS. You don't have to go private to achieve this. My midwife was lovely.

Are you paying or using health insurance? If the latter then check what it covers. You can never assume you'll have a normal delivery with no intervention.

Does it matter if intervention is needed? It's not a competition. The most important thing is that mum and baby are safe and well.

Chunderella Sat 13-Apr-13 16:54:58

Do you have any evidence for your claim that in the UK there has been a much bigger problem with women having unwanted intervention than vice versa, Xenia? I mean actual evidence, not anecdote: clearly it is valid for women to share our experiences but I'm sure we all know that it has its limitations in terms of analysing what actually goes on. Lest anyone should think me biased, I refused a sweep at term and syntocin during a prolonged latent phase, the latter meeting with more disapproval than the former. I was then denied the epidural that I begged for, so spent a lot of time labouring without pain relief, and consented to syntocin and ventouse during the delivery. So I have experience with both refusing and being refused intervention, and of undergoing intervention. There, that should tick enough boxes with both sides!

Oh, I don't say this to have a dig, but having read many of your posts I've an idea how old your DC are, indeed I think your eldest is about my age. By my recollection, you had your youngest around the millennium or so. Well, maternity services have become rather more stretched since the last time you did it. There have been baby booms, and also women have been giving birth whilst older, bigger and more ill than when you first started. Obviously this doesn't invalidate what you have to say, but do please consider that things are very different now from how they were in the mid 80s and even perhaps in the early noughties. There were some stats posted here the other week, possibly by Shagmund suggesting that one eighth of women did not receive adequate and timely pain relief during labour. About 600,000-650,000 women give birth in the UK every year. You're looking at 50k as a minimum. We're a big group.

'- they have moved the unit several times within the hospital and I found the current unit a bit depressing and dingy.'

What do you mean? I thought it was a stand alone unit in it's own building.

I agree about the transfer hospitals though. I wasn't too keen on the idea of being transfered to Barnet.

Xenia Wed 10-Apr-13 18:47:34

Yes, HolidayA same here. I had an awful negotiation when I was only 22 and wanted a home birth for baby 1 and we compromised on a 6 hour transfer - birth in NHS hospital and home that day which was okay but I certainly never felt the NHS was pushing mothers towards home births.

Same with inductions - had I been on the NHS they would have induced the twins at 38 weeks, no question and I researched that etc and wants to take the risk of having them later which was safe as they were being monitored regularly by my midwives.

HolidayArmadillo Wed 10-Apr-13 18:40:50

PeaceandHope, you seem so angry, maybe you need to talk to somebody about your experiences? I have to say I don't recognise the picture you're painting, where I work the only reason you might not get an epidural is because the anaesthetic team is busy elsewhere (ie saving another mother and babies life potentially) or because its contraindicated for you personally (which would have been discussed well beforehand). I have a policy of never offering pain relief, but I tell all women what their options are and that when they feel they need it all they have to do is ask and we can talk about what they would prefer.

Water births pushed on the NHS? The last place I worked before now the pool was used to store the birthing balls.

Home births pushed on the NHS? Personally I had my on call cancelled for spurious reasons and I had to fight, yes fight, to get it reinstated and I believe I was only successful because I knew the system and who to contact.

Inductions refused until 42 weeks? Try telling that to our induction midwife who performs on average 5-10 inductions per day, many for maternal request or 'social reasons'.

Hospital based midwifery has huge intervention rates so I find it baffling that you deny this. We get a lot wrong but we also get a lot right.

Xenia Wed 10-Apr-13 18:29:04

Yes, the twins like the story too. They were born 7 hours apart at exactly 40 weeks and were always happy, the happy babies, perhaps because I took the decision they would not be induced at 38 weeks and they had 2 more weeks of calm and putting on weight inside me. It illustrates how you cannot predict labour. I have never even heard of anyone having two separate 5 - 7 hour labours in one day for two twin births. I had only heard of you have one twin and the other comes out right after and I had read a load of books on twin births but I was very lucky. I had two private midwives at home. I could have got to any number of hospitals quickly when one was needed and although there was manageable pain I did not feel it got too much. I liked feeling in charge. I decided when I was fed up of trying at home for twin two. It was my decision and I wanted a drip by that point to speed up twin 2 in hospital and my decision to get back to our house the same night. I am sure 4th births will always be easier than most first births.

I am very sad that some women on this thread had a horrible time but I still do not believe most births on the NHS deny women epidurals except if they are asking for them at 9 cm dilated when it's too late. No system is perfect but we are terribly lucky to have the NHS. Most countries don't and even with its imperfections it tends to work fine for most parents.

I heard good things about Edgware birth centre too. I know Elstree - one of my daughters went to Habs and the other NLCS.

There were interviews on women's hour of grand mothers, their daughters and granddaughters all who had given birth and even 50 years one women still remember the births of children, defining moments for us all and it must be horrible to have a birth which traumatises you although I suppose even then given how many women die giving birth in many countries NHS care even at its worst is much much better than plenty of women endure.

WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 10-Apr-13 18:29:00

Daisy, maybe don't rule out st Thomas's as it may be the same driving time as w London - I stalkerishly just checked on google maps smile

I know starlight and others had a great experience at edgeware, but we visited and a few things put me off:

- high rate of transfer for first time mums
- the hospitals you transfer into often close their maternity units
- they have moved the unit several times within the hospital and I found the current unit a bit depressing and dingy.
- their criteria are so strict that they won't take you if you go much overdue or have low iron etc etc so you could easily book there and not be able to give birth, leaving you a bit stranded.

The staff were lovely and they have lots of pools iirc and good kitchen facilities. So nice your partner can stay with you, but the above things put me off.

DaisyBug Wed 10-Apr-13 18:19:36

What a great twin birth story Xenia. That's so funny about them being born in different birth districts.

We live in Elstree, just on the Hertfordshire border, so could get to The Portland or any of the west London private wings fairly easily.

Watford General has a private wing but that basically just provides more comfortable accommodation from what I gather, rather than a difference in medical care.

Re: Edgware Birth Centre, yes, that would be a wonderful option and very local. The only thing that puts me off is that a friend was recently turned away during labour because they were full.

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