NHS vs private childbirth

(25 Posts)
jackiemama Wed 11-May-16 21:14:11

Hi does anyone have experience for both NHS and private birth?
It's my first pregnancy and I'm considering whether to go NHS or private. I don't have (and hope I won't) have real complications. I know the answer may be private is always better if you can afford it. To us, we could afford it, but it's not like that amount of money doesn't make a difference to us. So would really like a fair comparison from experienced mums. Thanks a ton!

albertcampionscat Thu 12-May-16 03:55:52

Private will send you to the NHSif anything goes wrong.

brightnearly Thu 12-May-16 03:58:49

It depends on your local NHS hospital as well. I was briefly considering giving birth at John and Lizzie's, but would have ended up in St Mary's with an emergency c-section anyway (and I started out in the lovely midwife-led unit there, planning to go all natural 🙄)

Pinkheart5915 Thu 12-May-16 05:19:02

I had ds last year at the Portland and will have my dd there when she is born in August this year.
I had an un complicated pregnancy and had a natural birth with staff I trusted.

I didn't receive good nhs care 5 years ago when I had a stillborn dd so that was my reason for going private when I got pregnant with DS.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee Thu 12-May-16 06:12:51

What about a compromise? NHS hospital but getting an independent midwife and a private room afterwards?

sphinxster Thu 12-May-16 06:24:37

Does the private hospital have NICU and a blood bank?

I live overseas and can only use private hospitals because of insurance etc. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy but it all went a bit tits up and luckily we'd chosen a hospital with NICU and HDU.

bluecarpet Thu 12-May-16 06:35:06

Most NHS hospitals won't alow private midwives in as their insurance doesn't cover it.

pinguina16 Thu 12-May-16 10:27:10

I like Weeeeeeeee's solution best.

Having given birth once and a lot of it going t... up I regret not having someone experienced with me. The independent midwife won't be able to practise once inside the hospital but she'll be there armed with her knowledge.

Agree with albertcampiocats, private will end you NHS if anything goes spectacularly off piste. I experienced this for complications due o IVF. In major emergencies NHS is generally top notch in my view. Aftercare not so much so book private room and midwife!

bluecarpet Thu 12-May-16 10:28:16

I like Weeeeeeeee's solution best.

you'll need to discuss with the hospital. many don't allow it - blurs the lines for insurance purposes.

Coldest Thu 12-May-16 10:48:05

NHS is very luck of the draw. You can get horrible negligent care and you can get really good care but it depends on who you get on the day.

I would go private everytime if I didn't live outside London and private maternity care wasn't so non existent in my area

Suzietwo Thu 12-May-16 10:50:43

I've had 3 nhs births. No real complaints although had nasty infections after 2 sections. Switched to private for 4th because I wanted best care I could afford for 4th section. Due to have baby at st Thomas' next month. Soooo pleased I didn't have private birth the first time as I'd never have been able to go back!

schmalex Thu 12-May-16 10:54:05

I had both mine privately at St Thomas, which is an NHS hospital with a private wing. I think that's the best of both worlds - you get a lovely room, great treatment, plenty of pain relief, give birth how you like, but if anything goes wrong you have access to NHS SCBU, etc.

RedToothBrush Thu 12-May-16 12:39:22

Where do you live?

If you want to go private it is very much dictated by that. There is private maternity wards available in the SE round London and a small amount (though not on a dedicated maternity ward) in Liverpool.

I would see what is actually available to you locally first.

pregnantgrump Thu 12-May-16 12:44:18

I had mine privately at St Thomas's. The big advantages are continuity of care, consultant led care, more frequent scans, and an elective section done by an expert surgeon if you believe it's the safer option.

OhWhatAPalaver Thu 12-May-16 13:47:40

I used to work for bupa and we had to advise patients that there is virtually no difference between nhs and private births and we would actually recommend that patients use the nhs as if anything goes wrong as that's where you'll end up anyway. They don't have NICU in private hospitals. Also considering bupa are all about the profit I sincerely doubt they would advise this without good reason.

Coldest Fri 13-May-16 09:44:49

I don't know why people say there is no difference. I have many many negligent experiences with NHS including the birth of my first child as well as most of my friends and family memebera. If you don't have problems with access I would highly recommend going private

Coldest Fri 13-May-16 09:47:26

I go private for anything that I can access in my area and the difference is quite stark. Unfortunately there is no private maternity but I have booked a very experienced doula to look out for me as no way would I leave myself so vulnerable to the NHS again

chaosagain Fri 13-May-16 10:00:22

I've had 3 NHS births, all quite different types of births and my experience was fantastic in 2, and not so great in 1. The less great one was 7 years ago.

The most recent birth (last Sunday) was at a major London hospital and we ended up with an urgent transfer into theatre. The team, standard of care and communication was awesome. I'm so grateful to them.

We also had a spell on post natal. While it was crowded, busy and ridiculously overheated I was impressed at the level of support and care that was happening there.

Private post natal care may be a good option if it's on offer for you - that way you may actually get some rest after the delivery!

jackiemama Fri 13-May-16 12:56:37

You ladies are so helpful!!! Thank you so much! Having a private midwife is new to me and sounds like it could be a good compromise. Let's say if the hospital allows it, will the presence of a private midwife make the NHS midwifes 'angry' or you know, care about me less? Just thinking if there's tension between these groups. Does anyone have experience?

dannydyerismydad Fri 13-May-16 14:39:30

A few friends have opted for home births with a private midwife. Those that have needed to transfer in are handed over to the hospital midwifery team. However, the independent midwife is still able to attend the birth in a doula/advocate role.

Coldest Fri 13-May-16 14:42:21

I wouldn't say so. Usually the private midwives have close links with the hospital midwives. My doula sees the midwives at the hospital very often., sees them at events and is quite good friends with them.

I wouldn't worry about hostility and having a private midwive will ensure you have one-to-one care at least throughout labour and won't be left to fend for yourself.

I would have hired one myself but I came to know about them quite late

dannydyerismydad Fri 13-May-16 14:43:32

And it's worth taking a look at what is on offer in your local hospital.

Uncomplicated births in the midwife led units near me are lovely. Boutique hotel style rooms and very experienced midwives.

More complicated births and inductions are on delivery suites where the facilities are hit and miss.

Postnatally the hospital is dated. The wards are hot and cramped. There's an option to pay for a private room, which is better, but not luxurious!

RedToothBrush Fri 13-May-16 15:19:37

I second what danny said.

You might be surprised, especially if you cast your net a little wider than the nearest hospital. I stayed in the NHS but travelled 40 mins to the hospital of my choice. Look for one that has just had a refurbishment or has been built relatively recently as they will be considerably different to older establishments.

The variety of options within 45 mins of me, is somewhat dazzling. Everything from private ensuite rooms for all women and facilities that are less than 10 years old to places which are considerably more run down and less fit for purpose.

You do NOT have to stick to your local CCG. You are free to give birth where you are. If you do go further afield it can be a pain in the backside to go to all your appointments and its wise to make sure your notes are accurate and that you get test at the relevant time (I found different CCG had the same test at a different point so you had to be on the ball, for it - which thankfully my midwife was - due to policy differences).

And yes policy difference between hospitals vary massively too. This can make things more complex. What one will allow, its neighbour won't (or will strongly advice you against / discourage you). And vice versa. Which might be very applicable if you are keen on the independent midwife option here.

sarahhl Mon 16-May-16 15:57:55

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sarahhl Mon 16-May-16 16:07:00

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