Private maternity in London - how much does it cost???

(114 Posts)
Elizad Mon 12-Mar-12 09:28:01

Can someone let me know costs all in for Elective CS at LINDO, PORTLAND and CHELSEA? I know it wont be exact but to get a rough idea would be so fab...each website itemises most things but there is so much I have no clue about ( bloods, scans, consultant fees)


BagofHolly Mon 12-Mar-12 10:03:44

Each consultant has their own charges both for the op and for their care before and after. You need to contact each consultant's secretary for a quote. Then there's the additional costs of the theatre, room costs and scbu if you need it at the portland.
The charges you're quoted as a private patient are far higher than those quoted to the insurance companies as they negotiate keener prices, so if you can go through an insurer that's better even if you pay the bill yourself.

You're looking at about £15k for a straighforward ELCS but the costs soar as soon as there are any complications. My DS#1 was in scbu for a few days and our final bill, which took months to sort, was £28k.

Elizad Mon 12-Mar-12 13:25:36

Thank you so much, will contact direct. Just good to hear straight from the mothers as opposed to the dr as there always seem to be hidden costs

helenlouisey Mon 12-Mar-12 15:36:59

Hi, I'm with Mr McCarthy at queen Charlottes, looking at total bill around the £10-11k mark for a planned csection, this is consultant and hospital fees. Not sure if it is the same with all private wings at NHS hospitals, but if there are complications, then your baby is cared for under the NHs, there are no private facilities for SCBU, only NHS. However if you needed an extended stay in hospital because of complications with you they do charge for each additional night you are there, I think around the £400-500 mark.

ghislaine Mon 12-Mar-12 16:13:26

Basically the costs fall into two categories. There are the consultant's fees and the hospital fees. With a bit of mix and matching and taking a minimalist approach y having most of your ante-natal care on the NHS you might squeak in for around £8K for an ELCS. At the other end of the scale, you could easily spend £20K by having fully private ante-natal care and a 5 day stay at the Portland.

Consultants' fees range from about £6K to £1500 (this is the lowest I found - but this is just to do the section and see you once beforehand, no follow-up care). The range depends on how early you start your pregnancy care. Usually scans and bloods are extra.

Then there are the hospital fees. It's difficult to compare like with like as the quote is usually a set fee for ECLS + x no of days and then a charge for additional days. The problem is that there's no standard no of days. The Portland is one but I don't know about the others. You have to pay anaesthetist fees on top.

If you want to spread your geographical net a bit wider, you can also get private maternity at King's, Kingston, and Watford as well as St Thomas's and at QC.

Sunshinecurl Mon 12-Mar-12 20:38:56

My consultant was £6500 from the first scan right through to elective c-sec and the Portland's fees on top of that were around £12-14,000.

studentvera Mon 12-Mar-12 20:40:22

Can I ask you where fees were as £1500. Am keen for a elcs but don't have the funds !

Sunshinecurl Mon 12-Mar-12 20:40:44

Oops and I nearly forgot - £750 for the anaesthetist which I'd erroneously assumed would be included in the Portland's bill.

ghislaine Tue 13-Mar-12 12:45:10

I went to look for you and it seems that fees have gone up since I last looked! But £2 000 is still I think about as low as it gets for a private section. Mr Dennes Pat O'Brien at HSCFW is also £2 000 but only does private work at the Portland which immediately puts you in the £10 000+ bracket.

I seem to remember also that Mr Sajjad Ali advertised ECLS for £750 shock but this was at John and Lizzies which doesn't do maternity anymore. I'm not sure where else he practises. My computer won't connect to his website for some reason but you can still google him.

MsF1t Tue 13-Mar-12 12:47:22

Serious question: why do you go private? Is it for the private room afterwards, or do you genuinely think the care is better?

ghislaine Tue 13-Mar-12 12:56:42

Well, arguably the care might be better in that you are guaranteed the time, attention and expertise of a consultant as opposed to an SHO, registrar, or midwife. If you know you are going to have or want an ELCS, then you might as well go straight to an expert straight away.

But the real benefit IMO is in the post-natal care:

one on one midwife care (and other forms of help: lactation consultants, physiotherapists and nursery nurses)
food and drugs brought to you as and when you need them
no pressure to be discharged before you are ready
husbands/partners can stay overnight with you which helps with recovery and bonding.

Private rooms and bathrooms are really just the cherry on the top.

MsF1t Tue 13-Mar-12 18:25:45

Ah, okay. Thanks for the info. smile

midwivesdeliver Wed 14-Mar-12 00:36:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

laluna Wed 14-Mar-12 04:16:06

We don't perform an elective lscs - that's what's wrong with midwives.

laluna Wed 14-Mar-12 04:25:51

Normal birth has no place for some people and Doctors are Gods, after all.

midwivesdeliver Wed 14-Mar-12 09:00:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

midwivesdeliver Wed 14-Mar-12 09:02:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

midwivesdeliver Wed 14-Mar-12 09:08:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

laluna Wed 14-Mar-12 09:20:23

It's the American system of care isn't it? Can't fathom why anyone would choose an OB to do a normal delivery over a midwife. I would get into awful trouble if I worked there - I would wrestle the OB out of the way! At the end of the day if a woman wants to pay for a private CS - and that's why they pay - people never pay for hospital based midwifery care, do they - that's their choice, no questions asked. But I will stand up for my profession: a midwife's expertise, skill and knowledge in normal pregnancy and childbirth. No OB is 'better than me' in that respect as implied by ghislaine.

QTPie Wed 14-Mar-12 09:25:05

My main reasons for going private (was expecting a natural VB, but ended up with ELCS for breech) were:
- one-to-one care with an experienced midwife during labour (my local NHS hospital is notoriously understaffed and women are left alone an awful lot to labour).
- access to pain relief when you want it - particularly epidural (again, my local hospital is notorious for not have the available staff to be able to provide this).
- good postnatal care: including good breastfeeding support (again local hospital notorious...) and husband being able to "room in".

Some NHS hospitals can and do provide most of the above, but my local one does not have a good reputation... So it was worth it, for me, to go private. Private hospitals/wings do vary and you may well "get what you pay for" (my ELCS cost £15k - including mixed care and 5 nights acc).

Worth it to us: happy baby, happy mummy, considerably less stressed daddy!

If I conceive DS2, will go private again: so DC2 gets a good start and I don't have to fight for a second ELCS.


larrygrylls Wed 14-Mar-12 09:33:01


Having watched my wife have 2 NHS births there are some issues not related to the expertise of the midwife and also to the expertise of certain midwives.

Firstly, you are not guaranteed supervision at all when you need it. During my wife's VBAC, the midwife claimed she was not yet in active labour despite regular strong contractions, vomiting and her waters going. This was about 2 hours before she delivered. The obvious reason was that were the notes to have read active labour, she would have needed a midwife with her and constant monitoring. There was a large haemorrhage at the time so there were no rooms or midwives available on the labour ward, so easier to doctor the notes than admit that they failed my wife and put her at risk. Secondly, epidurals are often not really available. They say you may need to wait but, when my wife asked for one with our first son, the wait was 3 hours and, with our second son, she only got a spinal block in theatre when they had to deliver quickly by forceps.

As to the midwives themselves, I am sure you are great but some are very junior and lack basic qualifications. Again, during my first son's birth, my wife became dehydrated but the midwife we were with was not "qualified" to canulate, so she had to wait quite a while to get some basic fluids.

There are sound reasons to go private, although personally I would not be enthused to pay what it costs, as, ultimately, if things become a real emergency, the NHS does come into its own. That is not a criticism of any individual midwife, some of whom are superb and certainly know more about normal delivery than some obs.

We compromised with a private midwife, which was really helpful and costs more like £4k and for that, you get a midwife of your own choosing, contactable 24/7 pre natal checks at home and her there as your "advocate" at the birth.

laluna Wed 14-Mar-12 09:37:21

Thanks - that info has been good to read and I see some of your points. I wasn't aware that private midwifery in a hospital setting is available.

larrygrylls Wed 14-Mar-12 09:41:30


As far as I know, it is not. They can be your advocate and, obviously, in extremis, will intervene, even if not really allowed to.

midwivesdeliver Wed 14-Mar-12 09:56:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QTPie Wed 14-Mar-12 13:11:06

The OP needs/wants an ELCS, so she has no choice but to have a Consultant (and this is the OP's thread after all).

I am sure that the NHS has hundreds/thousands of really excellent midwives, sadly many hospitals/trusts just do not have the resources to allow patients to get the full benefit from these midwives (ie one-to-one care in labour, access to epidural in a timely manner or at all, good support on the post-natal wards). In many areas, midwives are just too stretched and over-worked. Very sad.

Other areas, I am sure, have great NHS care. I think that various smaller MW-led birth units would be an excellent option. There are a few in my area (not connected to a hospital - self-contained), but they are not an option if you need an ELCS or want the option of an epidural. Home birth is also another great option (if you are confident and/or can get excellent support from an IM or doula for earlier labour).


ghislaine Wed 14-Mar-12 14:48:04

Didn't mean to spark a war with my comments! I simply meant that in the OP's case, when you're going to give birth by c-section, it makes sense to meet and start building a relationship with the person who's going to perform the operation earlier rather than later. Continuity of care is something I think we can all agree is important in pregnancy.

I have no truck with midwives, I had great care from them from the moment I was admitted to the moment I was discharged. I had the same midwife at my side or on call from 10am till 5pm on the day of my section. Interestingly, quite a few of the midwives who looked after me during my stay said that they normally had posts at London NHS hospitals but preferred working privately from time to time as it meant they could actually do the job they were supposed to do and do it properly.

Of course you can have a midwife led VB privately, but that's not what the thread is about.

<echoes QT ad infinitum...>

ghislaine Wed 14-Mar-12 14:49:44

Truck? Problem. blush

Bue Wed 14-Mar-12 15:13:10

Sure private midwife-led births are available in hospital! They are available at all the private maternity hospitals/wings in London.

midwivesdeliver Wed 14-Mar-12 18:10:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ghislaine Wed 14-Mar-12 19:52:43

It was a shorthand but obviously bungled way of saying you get to choose who you think is the most experienced and/or appropriate person to undertake your care when you know you are in the position of requiring a section. The consultant I used was recommended to me by my gynaecologist as being the person she regards as the expert in caring for pregnant women with my particular condition. I trust her judgement absolutely and I don't like to take chances with experiences that matter so much in life. I would not have been guaranteed to see him on the NHS but I could by going private.

I had my antenatal care on the NHS. I saw a different midwife each appointment. Each time I was asked and had to explain why I was having a section (as I wasn't ballsy enough to say "none of your business" personal reasons). Some were quite hostile and one even told me that women shouldn't be allowed to have sections! I ended up having to produce the letters outlining the sorry state of my bits each time in order to get past the inevitable questioning which really was a bit of a faff.

I totally agree that it's largely the after care you're paying for with private births and in my case I think it was definitely worth it. I am very glad that I had a very senior consultant stitch me up because it transpired that my uterus was unusually vascular and required an experienced and steady hand to do so. I also felt I had an amazing start to motherhood because of the care I had from the midwives post-delivery.

Sunshinecurl Wed 14-Mar-12 20:25:45

If I may add a slightly different dimension here, many people end up delivering privately if they had (as I did) private ante-natal care. My consultant could only deliver at the Portland so that's where I ended up. Having since read various comments on private wings of NHS hospitals it seems to me that the Portland really is in a league of its own. Like QTpie, I would do it all again with a subsequent pregnancy without hesitation. The ease of breastfeeding and calmness of my baby are all, I'm convinced, as a result of the private midwifery post-delivery.

henrysmama2012 Thu 15-Mar-12 05:46:22

We are going to Thomas & Guys in Westminster - the private rooms are so nice that I am actually looking forward to going there!-& we like our doctor (who will deliver) so much - which really makes me feel more relaxed about the birth. Aside from those points, we went private due to not having to share a room, private bathroom, DH being able to stay over/visit anytime, a much calmer environment for our little one to arrive in, no rush to leave room before being ready, etc...I have to say that so far the prenatal standard of care has been excellent and really worth the investment & I am looking forward to the birth! I have nothing bad to say about midwives either - we simply like our doctor so much that we are happy that he is going to deliver the baby. The midwives that I've met at prenatal visits who will assist the six seem really friendly. It's my1st child so it's helped to reassure me a lot. I have had lots of advice from doctor friends that a private ward in an NHS hospital is a better option than a private hospital, if that helps (& 2 friends who had bad experiences in private - only hospitals, interestingly).

henrysmama2012 Thu 15-Mar-12 05:47:45

Ps 'the six' was meant to say 'the doctor', not sure how that typo happened lol, I'm not having 6 babies!!

Ephiny Thu 15-Mar-12 14:47:40

I want to go private for various reasons:

I want to be able to choose my consultant, and to be able to discuss options for the birth, including possible ELCS for personal reasons, and have my needs and wishes taken seriously.

If I do feel able to attempt a VB, I want to know that an epidural will be available when I request it, and topped up when it needs to be.

After the birth I want a private (and clean) room and bathroom, I would like my DH to be able to stay with me, and for the baby to be looked after while I sleep. If I've had a CS or otherwise need pain relief after the birth, I want to get appropriate painkillers at the correct times so my pain is kept well under control.

I'm not confident of any of those things happening in a busy London NHS hospital. I hope they will be achievable if we're willing to pay. It really is a lot of money, especially as DHs medical insurance won't cover any maternity costs (except for medically necessary CS) but I'm hoping it will save me a lot of pain and stress and avoid me being put in situations I don't cope well with.

painauchoc Thu 15-Mar-12 21:05:58

At Chelsea hospital fees are £4,900 plus nightly fee of £950 after the first night (assuming a cs). Blood tests are a few hundred on top. Consultants' fee around £7,500. Depending on the doctor there may be scans on top.

PeaceAndHope Thu 15-Mar-12 22:44:39

All right, so I'm going to risk being slammed and just say it.

Even if I wanted a normal birth I would go private and ask for consultant led care. I have nothing against midwives for those who prefer them, but to put it very bluntly- I cannot bring myself to trust them as much as I would trust an obstetrician. I have interacted with several midwives during the course of many years, and I have yet to find one I could fully trust.

I find the obsession many midwives have with a fully natural birth a bit tricky. A lot of them have struck me to be the sort who would deliberately withhold pain relief or delay a CS even to the labouring woman's detriment (not to say they are all like that). I couldn't live with that attitude if I was to have another baby. I also find their negative stance on childbirth autonomy very grating and patronising. The RCM actually stated that they felt women should not be "allowed" to choose ELCS even if they have suffered sexual abuse and should be sent to therapy instead.
Add to that their generally negative stance on pain relief options other than "natural" ones and it's my nightmare. Not to mention their complete refusal to accept the fact that vaginal birth does indeed cause severe complications as well and their tendency to gloss over these risks.

Now go ahead and flame me.

PeaceAndHope Thu 15-Mar-12 22:54:04

I hate to be the one to point this out but if midwives actually were as qualified as obstetricians, high risk pregnancies and complicated deliveries would not be referred to OBs- midwives would handle them on their own. So you can't blame a woman for wanting to choose an OB at the onset in case there are complications later or if she actually wants a more medicalised approach to maternity care. Yes gasp shock there are actually women out there who want as many antenatal scans and tests as possible, fetal monitering, epidurals and maybe even ELCS.

nappymaestro Thu 15-Mar-12 23:39:07

I'm very different from you Peace in that I do trust mw and wanted a private birth with natural birth focused mw.

I wanted to go to j&l to get that, but they then closed just before I was due to choose where to book.

I ended up finding a really good unit in the end in the NHS , but I think there is a gap in good private me led maternity care.

Mw in the NHS are amazing but in busy London hospitals they are just not always able to do their job IMHO

PeaceAndHope Fri 16-Mar-12 01:15:31


I respect your needs and I hope you were able to have exactly the kind of birthing experience you wanted. smile

I was just stating a personal preference- I simply don't have faith in midwives nor do I believe in their ideology.

As for the NHS v/s private debate, there is no doubt about the fact that at least for antenatal care and delivery, I would choose private care any day. NHS has been great for many things and I appreciate that but delivering in an NHS hospital is an idea that gives me nightmares. It's just too hit and miss.

Ephiny Fri 16-Mar-12 08:04:22

I feel the same way PeaceAndHope, I'm sure I'm generalising too much and not all midwives are like that but some of the attitudes I've heard both on here and in real life are quite alarming to me and not at all the sort of approach I would want. e.g. the mantra that 'your body is designed to give birth' (by whom?), the idea that pain in labour is a 'good sort of pain' and helps you bond with your baby. No thanks, not for me!

I do absolutely respect other women's different wishes and attitudes, and would completely support anyone wanting a home birth, refusing interventions, everything 'natural' etc. Your body, your choice. And likewise for me.

Fairly sure I will want/need an ELCS when it comes to it, so midwife-led will not be a choice!

midwivesdeliver Fri 16-Mar-12 11:06:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pitmountainpony Fri 16-Mar-12 11:21:02

Having only had the equivalent of private in the us but experience of surgery in the uk in the Nhs I can say despite an emcs I had the most lovely experience.
The to one for their 12 hour shift were so caring but in the end when labour and pushing did not get baby out the lovely midwife could not call it and say we need a c section. The ob did that calmly and with authority and the knowledge of someone with a surgical training.
What really struck me was the after care and how I did not have to ask for a thing.....iced water offered before I even asked, regularly. Sheets midwife even scratched my legs when I mentioned they were itching....anyway i felt so cared for, it was amazing.
Appendix out in a London hospital. I was so relieved to get out of a dirty ward with begrudging nurses who seemed to resent helping me get out of bed to use the toilet only hours after surgery.
Whether I would have paid the 40 k that our insurance paid is another question but wow was the care amazing? Yes it was.

PeaceAndHope Fri 16-Mar-12 11:38:32

midwives deliver:

I think you are talking about the way you think, not the way all midwives or even majority of the midwives think.

Irrespective of whether fetal monitoring is recommended or not, I wanted it. My friend had a last minute emergency which almost cost her her son because she wasn't monitored all through labour and she was termed "low risk" as well.
The thing is thst an uncomplicated pregnancy does not equal an uncomplicated birth. You never know what might go wrong in labour, and I'd rather be safe than sorry.

You seem to have a very idealistic view of what midwives do. I haven't heard of anyone who said her midwife was with her constantly through labour, nor have I heard of midwives sitting with a mother all night to help the baby feed. hmm.
Yes, consultants do not hold your hand through labour, but I'm sorry to burst your bubble neither do midwives.
I dislike it when people imply that OBs just yank out the baby, grab the placenta and leave. I'm sorry but that's just not true.

Whether you feel that way or not, midwives are the frontrunners in the movement that is preventing women from opting for ELCS and epidurals. The whole "natural birth movement" is led by midwives and doulas who keep talking about childbirth choices and then slam maternal request CS.
We keep hearing ad nauseum about how our bodies are "designed to give birth" and that complications are as rare as a dodo bird as long as you "trust your body".
They talk about women being mistreated by chauvinistic healthcare, and then say that women who have been sexually abused or have tokophobia should not be offered CS. They say OBs take away choices by imposing practices and then they do the same by imposing their own beliefs.
They strike me as a hypocritical lot.

midwivesdeliver Fri 16-Mar-12 11:50:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeaceAndHope Fri 16-Mar-12 11:58:56

"I feel the same way PeaceAndHope, I'm sure I'm generalising too much and not all midwives are like that but some of the attitudes I've heard both on here and in real life are quite alarming to me and not at all the sort of approach I would want. e.g. the mantra that 'your body is designed to give birth' (by whom?), the idea that pain in labour is a 'good sort of pain' and helps you bond with your baby. No thanks, not for me!

I do absolutely respect other women's different wishes and attitudes, and would completely support anyone wanting a home birth, refusing interventions, everything 'natural' etc. Your body, your choice. And likewise for me."

Yes, exactly. I support choices as well. However, i find it odd that while we are not out there campaigning against homebirths simply because we don't want one, there is this growing group of women who prefer all-natural births and want to stop any alternative that doesn't fall into that category. They want their choices to be respected, which is fine, but I will never understand why they find it necessary to judge and inhibit ours.

LaVolcan Fri 16-Mar-12 12:11:44

there is this growing group of women who prefer all-natural births and want to stop any alternative that doesn't fall into that category. They want their choices to be respected, which is fine, but I will never understand why they find it necessary to judge and inhibit ours.

Which group is this?

midwivesdeliver Fri 16-Mar-12 12:34:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nappymaestro Fri 16-Mar-12 13:08:45

Midwives you sound like a lovely midwife and having read what you have to say I won't be nervous now if I get assigned a male midwife! There is one at the local hospital here - could be you grin

Small NHS units are another kettle of fish entirely to the london units that people are usually going private to avoid.

At my birth I had truly amazing NHS mw care -

Lovely calm mw for first stage who offered me 1-1 constant presence if I wanted it or to pop in and out leaving me privacy with DH , entirely my choice. Total support and understanding about the pain. Filled the pool manually for me carrying buckets of water when the system filled the pool too hot.

Then amazing mw who handled the next shift including the birth itself. She remained serene despite a crowded unit which then closed - she was mw supervisor that night. She handled all complications amazingly including my pph and we were laughing at her jokes between contractions while I was in the pool almost at 10cm.

The fantastic support I got enabled me to have the medication free birth I wanted and I have no doubt I could have had any pain relief I requested as the unit has a very low epidural rate but 24 hr anaesthetic back up. The time between requesting and getting one is apparently v short.

I have no doubt that had I given birth in London on the wrong night I would have ended up with forceps or cs though - I can honestly say the mw support in my 3 hr pushing stage made the difference between natural vd and not.

People reading this thread outside London do need to appreciate that maternity care there is completely different and IME a total lottery with some very bad outcomes to be had sad

Ephiny Fri 16-Mar-12 13:32:50

Yes you sound lovely midwivesdeliver - I know some women are dubious about the idea of a male midwife, but I do think men sometimes have a more sympathetic attitude on these issues, and are more inclined to take women's pain and fears seriously. Often the judgemental or dismissive attitudes come from other women, sadly. Maybe because they're more likely to have emotional 'baggage' of their own when it comes to birth.

But however good a midwife is, there are some factors beyond their control, as you suggest, not least units being understaffed so however much you want to you can't always give women the care and attention they should have, or provide them with the pain relief they need. I agree with nappymaestro that things can be very bad in some of the busy London hospitals, especially regarding post-natal care, and it can be an awful experience for women who've had a difficult birth or are recovering from surgery.

Choosing private care at least reduces your chances of these sorts of problems.

PeaceAndHope Fri 16-Mar-12 14:54:59


"Which group is this?'

Have you been living under a rock or have you missed the whole birth movement which demonises ELCS, epidurals etc. and OB and insists all-natural, vaginal birth is the best way to deliver? They cite "choice" as a reason to opt for a VBAC, and condemn women who choose repeat CS in the same breath. Hypocrisy at its finest.


Just a quick fact-according to a recent survey, it's actually only 21% of the births that can truly be called uncomplicated.

Here it is-

LaVolcan Fri 16-Mar-12 15:11:04


I asked a straight question - which group or groups? The fact that you haven't answered this but chose to insult me is its own answer I think. The only groups I can think of seek to promote informed choice and a better standard of care for all women.

nappymaestro Fri 16-Mar-12 15:19:59

Thing is, an uncomplicated vd has the best outcomes for mother and baby, doesn't it? I didn't think anyone disagreed with that?

larrygrylls Fri 16-Mar-12 15:40:18

I think this idea that obs are "better" than midwives for normal births is misplaced. It is also a bit of a waste of the obstetrician's time. Have they really studied 7+ years then done additional study to assist (if necessary) in a normal birth? Sure you can get anything you pay for, if you have enough money. On the other hand, how many of you would demand a top consultant as your GP? I am sure if you were prepared to pay £500 per appointment, you could do it. A good midwife is like a good GP. She/he will know a lot in their own right and will also know when to get a more medically qualified professional. Both my wife's births ended to at least some extent medically (emergency C section, forceps delivery due to bradycardia) and the midwife called the appropriate obstetrician as soon as the traces gave cause for concern.

I think that the Portland is a bit like flying club class and staying in a 5 star hotel for a few days. It is fine if the money is basically loose change but if you are substantially compromising in other areas of your life for it, I think it is a bit of a waste of money and you may come to regret it later. I also think (although I could be wrong here) that, if a baby needs complex support, they will still be transferred to UCH.

QTPie Fri 16-Mar-12 16:06:05

Midwivesdeliver, I feel the need to start a fan club for you or something - you sound really fab smile

I am sure that the vast majority of midwives are like Midwivesdeliver - or at leats start that way... It really is the money/resources of the NHS that often stops them being able to provide the service that they want to be able to. Midwivesdeliver's view of his job is exactly what I would hope a MW's role would be.

I live outside of London in a small city, but with a big hospital that serves as the high risk maternity centre for a very large area. So it probably isn't that different from a maternity unit in London. Those women I know that have birthed there have just about all had rotten experiences: lack of availability of epidurals, lack of midwife support during labour (i.e. midwife being busy with more than one woman), very little constructive support with breastfeeding, even a CS patient being turfed out after only 24 hours.

I haven't had a VB (ELCS for footling breech), but I am sure that GOOD MW support has a very positive impact on good birth outcomes. Being well supported, having trust and confidence can only relax someone more and that can only help.

One group that definitely has a very "rose tinted glasses" approach to natural VB is the NCT. I think that the delivery of the course depends very much on the teacher, but it is very "pro-natural birth, not a big fan of various types of pain relief (except gas and air), against induction and provides very little information about CS". You need to "read between the lines" and do your own research in some areas...

However there is a very fine balance on knowledge: between knowing what will be useful and frightening yourself witless... (and that balance is very different for different people). The medical profession in general (not just childbirth) is very much based on dealing with problems as they arise and not worrying too much about "what may arise". I was having a conversation about this with my husband's uncle (a well respected Pathologist) relating to cancer screening. I guess that much of the medical profession is a balance between resources/money and "benefit". This is always very difficult to take when it is one of us (personally) who is involved.

To be perfectly honest I see little in the analogy between "private maternity care" and "flying business class". Private maternity is not just "a nicer room and nicer food": it is about having access to the resources (in particular the time of medical professionals - mainly MWs and aneasthetists) that you wouldn't have in a very busy NHS hospital. It is about "one to one" care and very quick access to epidural (as quick as possible). Those can make an awful lot of difference in the birth experience. It is just sad that those resources are not available at all NHS hospitals (I think that they would be much more likely to be available at smaller NHS birth units).


thefurryone Fri 16-Mar-12 16:10:35

PeaceandHope you seem to think yourself and incredibly reasonable person but you were not just stating a personal preference you're just denigrating an entire profession because they can't help you to control every single moment of childbirth.

If I recall correctly you have been through quite a traumatic birth so I imagine your viewpoint is a little skewed, but despite your experience and the impression given reading childbirth forums the majority of women will have relatively uncomplicated vaginal deliveries assisted only by midwives.

I will be ecstatic if I don't see an obsetrician during this pregnancy as it will mean that I will have remained low risk and that I will have been able to have what will hopefully be a reasonably uneventful birth.

Also I wouldn't pay to go private but then I'm very fortunate in that I see the same community midwife at all non-hospital appointments (unless she's on holiday of course), and she was the same midwife who came to visit me after DS was born. I have a well staffed modern maternity unit just up the road, that has both an MLU and CLU. There is also a very high chance that you get to have your own room post-natally without charge. The midwives on the ward were amazing, they gave me endless help with breastfeeding, encouraged me to co-sleep and checked on me in the middle of the night when DS wouldn't stop screaming. I honestly don't know what I could have paid for to make my care better. It makes me really sad that this level of care isn't available to all women, but instead we end up with the luck of the draw postcode lottery or if we have enough money to throw at the problem.

Oh and apart from her teabreak I had the same midwife with me throughout labour. Although giving birth 7 minutes before her shift ended no doubt helped that a bit!

larrygrylls Fri 16-Mar-12 16:22:47


I assure you that flying business class can make a huge difference in the "travel experience" too! I agree with you re epidurals but I don't think you get much better access to other medical professionals. I think there is also an issue of the quality of midwives who work at places like the Portland. How on earth do they get any practice at delivering babies when the consultant comes in at the last minute to do it? I know our private midwife told me that people she knew who worked at the Portland as midwives did not especially enjoy the experience (although it was well paid and relatively stress free).

I am also curious as to how (and whether) you really can get an immediate epidural at a private hospital? I mean, how many anaesthetists are there on standby the time? If a couple of women suddenly have to go to theatre, surely you will have to wait until the anaesthetists are finished there first? I read that the Portland delivers 2,000 babies a year, which is roughly 7 per day. Do they have 2-3 anaesthetists on standby 24/7?! I am not sniping, just genuinely curious.

I am not against private healthcare at all and we use it as a family selectively, but I do think that people should make the equation of the cost versus the quality of the birth experience (as you said) rather than feeling it will be safer or give a better outcome, as I don't feel that is the case.

nappymaestro Fri 16-Mar-12 16:37:16

Larry I'm sorry to say private healthcare does sometimes give you better access to medical staff. I've had some private antenatal care and other care.

E.g. When swine flu happened and all pg women were told to vaccinate I was able to discuss immediately with my obstetrician - because I was a private patient. The same obs also noted I should not be on a particular pg supplement due to a medical condition I have. No one in the NHS team had noticed that. If I had gone private I would have had my consultant and mw home and mobile numbers and able to call 24/7.

ghislaine Fri 16-Mar-12 16:38:01

Hi Larry, if you click on this link and look at some of the clips it may well answer some of your questions about the Portland. Yes, they do have anaesthetists there 24/7 and I think about 1/2 the women there have a vaginal midwife-led delivery. So I assume that is how the midwives there keep up their practice, they aren't inferior handmaidens to the god-drs.

The Portland also has a SCBU and a NICU for babies born after 30 weeks, so it is only in rare cases that there would be a transfer to the NHS - although this is also a risk you run in the NHS. There are always stories about mothers in one hospital and the baby in another, or twins split up, etc.

larrygrylls Fri 16-Mar-12 16:52:41

Nappy and Ghislaine,

Thanks for coming back. Take your points.

I do think though that some private Drs create a culture of dependency on basically well patients. We saw a private ob for a while (v good one in terms of medical skill) when we had some concerns about risks of miscarriage (luckily false ones, was me being slightly neurotic). He insisted on doing scans every 2 weeks. This gave us some peace of mind, but for over £1.5k, and also there was nothing the scans really told us that made any difference to the outcome. As we had a cat, he also tested my wife (at a cost of £100) for toxoplasmosis antibodies. The only real advantage of that is that I KNEW that I had to change the cat litter, rather than doing it anyway as a precautionary measure. Luckily, we are reasonably comfortably off so that kind of money will have no effect on the rest of our lives. I think my reason for posting here is to alert people to the above. If they are comfortably off and it means a lot to them, I think that a private birth will probably offer them what they want.

Re the Portland in particular, I have only heard good stories about the birth experiences. OTOH, my own experience in seeing a private paed there and what friends have told me kind of makes me wonder where their priorities lie. They were the medical establishment in my whole life who insisted on in advance credit card payment (rather than billing in arrears), and the paed took a very aggressive and paternalistic line rather than actually interacting with our baby or listening carefully to our concerns. And, as to my friends who they had their baby at the Portland, they are IMO slightly overconcerned parents and the paediatrician there was very happy to check their (healthy) children every 6 months and personally administer all the usual vaccinations, for a very large fee, of course. Contrast that to another private paediatrician (also with a great reputation) we saw locally who billed in arrears, listened to us, played with our baby and then, when he was confident the problem was resolved, insisted on discharging us saying he did not want to see a "healthy baby".

ghislaine Fri 16-Mar-12 16:59:36

Not to argue the toss with you, but isn't there a body of research that says that frequent scanning and TLC can help prevent miscarriage? Something to do with reducing stress hormones? So perhaps the dr was following a recognised line of treatment?

Re your friends, if they were happy to pay for something they could have had 'free' on the NHS, well, it's up to them how they spend their money. But when it comes to having a baby in London, money does make a difference, sadly.

ps I don't work for the Portland!!

larrygrylls Fri 16-Mar-12 17:04:59


Really, never heard of that but I will check it out. Interesting idea.

Are you sure re working for the Portland? smile.

Of course, people should be free to spend their money how they like. But, I would like to think that very well qualified professionals would feel morally obliged to give good honest guidance, such as telling them that a nurse can draw a syringe and inject it just as well as a paediatrician and that healthy children don't need regular "check ups". And, I think that most do, which is why that story rather shocked me.

skandi1 Fri 16-Mar-12 17:20:57


The Portland is first class and I highly recommend it.

Choose your consultant carefully and by that I mean someone who suits your personality/outlook on life. Some are very hand holdy cuddly types and other come across more clinical. Depends how you like to be treated by a medical professional really.

I chose Donald Gibb. He is great. He is of the old school clinical type but great sense of humour under neath.

Total cost for consultant and CS was £13k but add to that £4.6k for the day I had a massive bleed and went into premature labour at 35 weeks and had a 3 day stay at the Portland.

The treatment during my emergency at 35 was excellent. Consultant was on the ball from the minute I called wailing and panicking to calming me down when we got to the Portland. We were all fine and DS stayed put for another four weeks after.

Actual birth was an amazing calm and lovely experience. And midwife care afterwards was fantastic. All in all they were very good to me and whilst expensive I certainly got my monies worth.

It all depends what's important to you.

Most consultants offer an initial chat so you can see them face to face to see whether you like them enough to deliver your baby.


Ps ignore all the why are you going private just for a better room posts. There is far
more to it than that.

QTPie Fri 16-Mar-12 17:32:28

larry, whilst one would expect a better seat/bed and (very marginally) better food, plus a few other "frills" (lounge access, priority check-in and boarding and luggage etc) in Business Class, you wouldn't really expect huge "health" benefits over economy class. MAYBE less chance of DVT ("economy clss syndrome"), but I have even seen cases of DVT reported in Business Class passengers....

I honestly think that a private birth (either MW-led or Consultant-led) brings more than just "comfort" benefits (i.e. "flying Business Class"). Obviously there are a LOT of different aspects to any birth, but the "state of mind" of the mother MUST effect the ease of birth (and the chances of intevention etc). If a mother feels more confident and relaxed, then things have to be easier. For me, that would be having one MW supporting me all of the way (subject to shift changes) and knowing that I can have pain relief when required (since extreme pain is a little worrying...).

As others have said, private hospitals (including Portland and J&L when it was operating) offer "private MW-led births" (where the MWs are responsible for the birth unless intevention is reuired).

The Portland, specifically, has a high proportion of ELCS and this is useful in "scheduling" anaesthetist resources. Nowhere can guarantee an "immediate" epidural, but when you are paying £10k+ for a birth you can bet that you are not going to be easily fobbed off....

I have no doubt of the great quality of the MWs/anaesthetists/OBs working for the NHS at all, but I have huge worries that they are so stretched that they often can't give their patients the attention/time that they would like to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.... They end up "fire fighting".

The NHS is a great institution in a fairly poor state (in many areas): they are still managing to save lives, but there is often not the money/resource to "care".


nappymaestro Fri 16-Mar-12 18:20:02

Leary Ghislaine is right that there was a research study which showed the more medical professionals a woman saw while pg the less likely she was to miscarry. I do completely understand your concerns about private medicine though and know someone who was given an inappropriate op by a private Gynae which the NHS then had to sort out sad

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 16-Mar-12 18:26:44

Small observation- I have given birth twice on midwife led units, on the NHS, and both times the care I received from the midwives who delivered my babies was absolutely fantastic. I also happen to have gone to school with the obstetrician for one of the hospitals and although a lovely guy, the thought of him with forceps was frankly a terrifying experience and I would prefer a midwife any day!

I also think some of the posters are being unrealistic about what labour is actually like. For a start why they would want a midwife sitting with them constantly while they laboured is beyond me as it is totally unnecessary. Also I do not get the obsession with access to an epidural, especially as it can actually cause further complications. I had my last baby in a birthing pool with just gas an air and it was a lovely experience and I was up and walking around straight away. I had a gorgeous private room for three nights and husband got to stay with me, and had his own bed, all on the NHS. Why anyone would spend 20k to have this I don't know.

midwivesdeliver Fri 16-Mar-12 18:37:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QTPie Fri 16-Mar-12 18:58:05

Scarlettsmummy, I think that you were incredibly lucky... If you were at my local hospital you would have a VERY different story to tell. If all NHS hospitals were like that, then there probably wouldn't be much of a demand for private hospitals.

Pain is very subjective and people react to it VERY differently... The same with having a MW there: what is "unnecessary" to one person is "vital" to another. It is better to have access to something and not need it, than to feel that you desperately want something and not to be able to have it.

MsF1t Fri 16-Mar-12 20:29:33

skandi - Are you referring to me with your PS? (I don't think anyone else mentioned the private room?)

I asked a genuine question- I was not taking a pop at all. I grateful for the helpful replies, and have continued to read the thread with interest, as I wasn't aware of the issues people were facing in London. I am in Scotland, and it seems we have better care and facilities.

As it happens, a close friend of mine had to fight to get an elective caesarian (she is in England) as her reasons for wanting one were not taken seriously. I do know how stressful these things can be, and I wouldn't ever want to be critical of people who feel this is something they want and can afford to choose, or who would like the extra midwife support during/after the birth.

Thanks everyone who has contributed so far, as this is not a subject I know much about (private healthcare etc). Very interesting, but sad that things appear to be so poorly run and funded in the NHS down there.

ghislaine Fri 16-Mar-12 20:46:52

MsF1t, it's more likely that skandi was referring to Portland bingo which always comes up on these threads. You can guarantee that in any Portland thread, there will be mention of at least two of the following:

You/your baby will need to be transferred out to the NHS
alternatively: The Portland has no NICU/SCBU
(Two) women have died in childbirth at the Portland
You're just doing it for the fancy room
alternatively (I give extra credit for this as it shows insider knowledge): I wouldn't go there just for the Molton Brown toiletries
The Portland only does ELCS
You don't get better care by going private


Tregony Fri 16-Mar-12 21:27:59

I had my dc privately at J&L (now not doing births). I decided to go private after a friend had a terrible experience at the Royal Free labouring in the corridor and hardly a midwife in sight. 1to1 care is what I paid for (and yes, my care was midwife led).

I had thought that I would have a perfectly normal/no drugs delivery - it didn't turn out that way and - yes I did have to wait for an epidural because the consultant anaesthetist was in theatre. I was happy just to get through with an emergency caesarian as both me and my dc were fine. The care from both the consultant and (all) the midwives was second to none. The aftercare was also excellent.

On to the comments re normal vaginal delivery - I have had several people, uninvited who have asked if I feel "cheated" by having an emergency CS or who have made points about how "X" has "done well" by having a vaginal birth with no or marginal drugs. It is not a competition.... I had obstructed labour and was in a very serious way when taken to theatre - a bit of flexibility in thought on this and sensitivity would go a long way.

skandi1 Sat 17-Mar-12 01:12:38

Ghislaine. Exactly. I was referring to the Portland bingo. Not any posts in particular.

Fwiw I had my first DC at UCL where their negligence almost killed both of us. I had procedures carried out without consent and a number of humiliating experiences on the ward.

The irony is that my GP refused to recommend a consultant for my first DC privately and told me that mothers (2) had died at the Portland, that they were very CS happy and I wouldn't have a normal
Birth and I would not be looked after well as they were only interested in money. And he highly recommended UCL as it was "just brilliant". What a joke and it was on me as I followed that advice rather than trust my instinct and go to the Portland.

So second time at the Portland was everything it should have been. And the midwife who cared for me was absolutely fantastic.

It may have cost £20k all in but I would have happily paid £100k to avoid treatment like the first time.

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 07:05:39


Actually, I haven't described any of my personal birth experiences in detail so far. I think you have assumed something just so that you can patronise me by saying I am "biased due to my trauma". It's a fairly typical tactic, one that people commonly use to dismiss the opinions of women they disagree with.

An uncomplicated childbirth experience is NOT experienced by the vast majority. If by uncomplicated you mean avoiding a crash CS or an assisted birth, then perhaps. (Although given that roughly 16% of the women have a crash CS and 14% have operative VBs, we already have a high percentage of complications if you put the two statistics together.) Even if a delivery occurs without interventions there can still be complications such as pelvic organ prolapse(which affects roughly 50% of women to some extent), incontinence, PPH, severe tearing etc. I know of a textbook birth that resulted in a baby with erb's palsy. So contrary to your assumption, we cannot prove that majority of the women and babies have no complications at all. Even a second degree tear that takes ages to heal or gets infected may be looked at as a complication by some people.

Lastly, your midwife is hardly representative of all midwives. You may have had a good experience but plenty of people are not as lucky. It doesn't prove much either way. You have good care by virtue of your postcode, but many others don't.

And for the last time- it's fab that you are low risk, but there is no piece of research that actually proves that uncomplicated pregnancy=uncomplicated delivery. Sure, your chances of ending up with interventions may be lower than someone who is high risk, but you can hardly ever have a guarantee for an uncomplicated, smooth birth.The most miserable of pregnancies end with easy deliveries and the most easy pregnancies can end with difficult and traumatic deliveries.

It personally gave me no comfort with regards to the delivery to be called low risk during my pregnancy. I don't think one has all that much to do with the other.

And yes, I dislike midwives. That is my opinion and I think I am entitled to it even if it offends you. wink

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 07:13:14


Yes, these things are always mentioned by someone or another.

Two women died at Portland. So? There isn't a hospital in the world where at least someone wouldn't have died is there?
Shall we list the several women and babies who have dies due to NHS negligence? I can post the articles right now if anyone would like to have a read.

Oh and this statement is quite funny- "The Portland only does ELCS"
hmmhmm Really?I must have imagined the friend who had a water birth at the Portland then.

The Portland DOES have an NICU and an SCBU. They also have an HDU for mothers who may require it. Don't take my word for it though. Here's a link-

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 07:24:43


You seem to be making assumptions about the journalist and the statistician. Perhaps because they don't match your views?

Anyway, approximately 30% women have CS in UK. It isn thought that about half of these women have crash CS while the rest are planned (repeat CS, breech presentation, pre eclampsia etc.) Secondly, about 14% of women have operative vaginal deliveries. Vaginal tearing is experienced by approximately 90% of women to some extent, second degree tears being the most common. About 9% experience third or fourth degree tears. (Source RCOG).
Approximately 50% of women end up with some degree POP, while a significant percentage experience some form of incontinence. The side effects of a VB also count when we separate complicated from uncomplicated.

This could go on forever, because different studies will show up different findings and each of us can come up with some logic to support our views.

I don't believe majority of births are completely uncomplicated, just as I don't trust midwives. If this opinion disturbs you, so be it.

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 07:26:37


People pay £20,000 to have what you did because not everyone can get that on the NHS. As my daughter would say, "Duh".

heliumballoon Sat 17-Mar-12 08:04:29

According to the FAQs on their website, the Portland does not have birthing pools; if you want one they hire it in. (I would be pleased to be corrected if the website is out of date). When they boast about pain relief using water in labour, they mean, you can have a bath in your private bath room. Unfortunately by the time i was 9 months I could not physically get in and out of a bath...
I agree with what posters say about the Portland's attitude to payment. When I went for an early scan in pg due to bleeding, they first made me stand up to fill out a long form and pay. I was faint, bledimg and crying and was not offered a seat but barked at through a glass screen. Once I got inside it was all fluffy carpets and long lovely appointments though.

midwivesdeliver Sat 17-Mar-12 10:14:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

midwivesdeliver Sat 17-Mar-12 10:45:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 11:06:34


It's all very well to go after the one article I happened to quote (and if you had bothered to look carefully, you would have realised that it does have reliable sources). It's even more strange to accuse me of not having the read the article. hmm I don't know about you, but having a PHD in Financial Mathematics I am very comfortable with statistics, although I fail to see why that is so important.

You seem to have missed the other statistics that I quoted in my last post which were from RCOG, Nice and ACOG. Here are just a few of them-
(states majority of women do tear and that 9 in 100 experience severe tearing. Also explains the long term effects of tearing)
(states that majority of cesareans are emergency procedures carried out due to complications during labour, or due to pre-existing medical conditions)
( states that 50% of women who deliver vaginally experience POP, although many don't realise it and many don't seek treatment)
(rate of operative births in UK)

You could also look up numerous statistics on incontinence, cerebral palsy, erb's palsy and other birth related complications from whichever source you consider "reliable".

If you really respect other views as much as you claim to respect them, then why does my mistrust in the ability of midwives bother you so much? Why did you and LaLuna get so offended and touchy in the beginning when some people expressed a preference for consultant led care? Let it go and take it in your stride.

I wouldn't pay to have one of you deliver my baby. I couldn't put it more plainly, and if you actually respect views different from your own, you will accept that and not try to change my mind by claiming to be better.

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 11:15:35


You have only seen bad, abusive practice from your female colleagues? All right then.

Anyway, this may be another thing that will put you in a tizzy, but I prefer female HCPs. All my OBs have been female, because I make sure they are. If a male midwife walked into my labour room I would ask for a change simply because I find nothing more disturbing than having strange men look at my most intimate body parts. I am sure I am not the only woman who feels this way. It doesn't have anything to do with a lack of faith in a male HCPs abilities-that isn't it at all.
Some of us just don't like it when men other than our boyfriends or husbands handle our privates. And no, we could care less if you see that sort of thing everyday or if you have developed the ability to do this dispassionately. WE don't hang it all out for strangers on a daily basis, and we have a right to request a female HCP if men in the delivery room make us uncomfortable. Add to the fact that labour involves embarrassing accidents, and I can think of nothing I would hate more than a man in the room.

nappymaestro Sat 17-Mar-12 11:19:53

Peace you are entitled to your own opinion but it is quite an extreme viewpoint. I have never met anyone going private or generally in RL who has your point of view. Are you saying all births should be managed by obs and end in cs? Do you think mw should be scrapped?

Midwives honestly I think the vast majority of mums think mw are great - you are there helping us at one of the most important moments in our lives. I am so grateful to all those who work in midwifery and who are good - which I am sure is the majority smile

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 11:45:23


Is English your native language? If it is, I don't think you will have problems deducing from my posts that I never said all pregnancies should be managed by OBs and end in CS.

Nor have I said midwives should be 'scrapped'.I just feel that everyone should have the option consultant led care if they prefer it. I don't agree with the European midwife led model, where we are forced to go to midwives whether we like it or not. I'm sure many women love midwives and I am sure midwives are well meaning, but that doesn't mean it is the right approach for everyone.

I will point out that many countries manage without midwives, but no system can function without consultants.

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 11:48:33

I'm sure other people have my POV nappymaestro wink, even if that is shocking to you. I just don't think many people would come right out and say it. Furthermore, preferred modes of delivery and midwifery are hardly topics people discuss over dinner or coffee breaks, so you can't exactly claim to know the opinion of every person you've met when it comes to these things.

I am not the only one to prefer consultant led care, or private care or female HCPs. There must be several other women who have similar preferences, they just maybe less vocal about them.

midwivesdeliver Sat 17-Mar-12 12:58:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Coconutty Sat 17-Mar-12 13:06:26

Jesus, I didnt realise it was so expensive. DS1 was delivered by the God like
Dr B Lynch, sadly retired, free of charge on the NHS.

I can totally understand going private though.

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 14:08:52


Oh nosad You misunderstood me! I wasn't trying to imply that male midwives/OBs are perverts and rapists. It is appalling if someone has said that to you.
As I said before in my previous post, my preference for females is simply psychological. I don't doubt the sincerity or expertise of male HCPs for even one second. I just prefer females for intimate procedures, that's all. The issues are mine. Men are not uncaring bastards, nor are male HCPs out to "control" (no more than the female ones are anyway wink).

Labour involves vomiting, pooping, people looking at and touching and worse still putting their hands up my you-know-what. It's embarrassing enough with a female in the room, but to me it would be mortifying to have a male witness and do all that.I didn't even want my husband to see a lot of it. These are my issues alone, it doesn't mean the male midwife is a pervert. Does that make sense?

FWIW, there were men in the OT during my CS for DD1. They were nothing but respectful and kind, and I am grateful to all of them for taking care of me the way they did.

I realise I am opinionated, and I have never been timid about expressing my views. They do often shock and offend people and I am sorry if I offended you. But it really is just a preference based on my individual priorities, it doesn't need to affect anyone else.

ghislaine Sat 17-Mar-12 18:39:09

I think the website must be out of date: you can see the Portland's pool about 10 seconds into this clip.

<sits back and waits for cheque from Portland's PR department> [hopeful]

PeaceAndHope Sat 17-Mar-12 19:07:00


I just read that you think that overseeing a "normal birth" is a waste of a consultant's 7+ year training. I find this a bit perplexing- it's a part of their job technically to oversee and assist ANY kind of birth.

I don't know if you're aware that in countries like Canada, USA, India, China, Brazil, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, Japan and many it is obstetricians who take care of pregnant women and their deliveries. Whatever your private view of any of these countries, I doubt any of the OBs there think they are wasting their training. hmm

OP, I think it's great if you can afford to go private. These were my reasons,

1. I could choose the HCP who would take care of me for the 40 odd weeks, and I wouldn't have to see a different person every time.

2. My OB worked with two more consultants and I met them both prior to the birth. They each knew my history and preferences. I was assured that one of them would deliver my baby if my consultant was delivering someone else at the time. So I was secure in the fact that someone I knew and trusted and someone who was aware of my preferences would deliver my child.

3. I had more of a say in everything. Since I was paying I could ask for a lot of things without being given reasons like "hospital policy".

4. I felt less judged. I said I didn't want to breastfeed, I wasn't pushed. I said I didn't want to attempt rooming in, and I was given the freedom to sleep while baby was in the nursery. I asked for a CS, I wasn't judged.

5. My husband could stay with me and mum could visit any time.

6 I had my own, clean bathroom. This to me, is priceless. I would have paid if only for this! I saw my cousin struggle with early labour on a ward. She had to go poo every half hour and the loo wasn't exactly close by. In addition to which, it wasn't always free. An en suite was a blessing post natally as well.

7. I felt I had more say in what was done to me. I went into labour before my planned CS date and before my consultant could get there the one on call suggested a trial of labour and maybe forceps if it got too late for a CS. I flat out refused and the CS was done without question. In an NHS hospital, this could have been a potential battle. I also refused suppository pain relief and asked for oral medication instead.

8. I had a paediatrician of my choice look the baby over and answer my questions to my satisfaction.

9. I asked for and got only females performing intimate procedures like catheterisation, checking my pad etc.

10. I spent my pregnancy without living in constant worry about being given a nasty or incompetent midwife/consultant on call (obviously all aren't like that, but some are and I would have been worried sick about landing up with them) When strangers deliver your child you have no guarantee of their experience and expertise. I didn't worry about being sent home while in labour because there weren't enough beds in the labour ward. I didn't worry about having procedures performed on me without my express consent. I didn't worry about dealing with a newborn in a noisy ward without anyone to assist me. Oh and I didn't worry about giving birth in a corridor or being left with poor post-natal care.

I don't think about how much all this cost. To me it was priceless.

larrygrylls Sun 18-Mar-12 10:43:48


A CEO of a company oversees all the staff under him. I think that people would be surprised to see the CEO of Shell working behind the till in a petrol station. That is the relationship of a consultant to the midwives under him (not that I am implying midwifery is not in itself very skilled). He delegates. And, as to all those countries you are talking about, I have no idea about Italy but in the others, you are talking about a private healthcare system. I cannot see someone in a favella in Brazil getting obstetric antenatal care nor someone in a township in S.A. They would get (at best) basic care from a community midwife.

I agree with you re continuity of care. That is why we had a private midwife throughout my wife's two pregnancies. She was a fantastic midwife and, if she had any concerns at all, would refer us to an ob. OTOH, we just saw no need for excessive scanning or an obstetrician to personally draw blood or do urine tests.

Private rooms are available post natally at many NHS hospitals. Some of these (e.g at St Thomas's) seem very comfortable.

As for the cost, "priceless" is a big word. What did you have to sacrifice for your private birth? Did you have to give up private education for your child, for instance? Or holidays for a few years? I have continuously stated that a private birth can be a good option if £20k is trivial to you but, if you have to make substantial sacrifices to pay it, I would think twice about it.

PeaceAndHope Sun 18-Mar-12 14:52:34


No, £20,000 was not trivial to me. I'm not Posh Spice;) But then again, my health, the delivery of my child or my piece of mind weren't trivial either.

Yes we sacrificed a few holidays, but if my husband had actually put a vacation before my antenatal care and delivery I'd be furious. We had to cut back on a lot of other things, but that was a choice I made. It depends on your priorities doesn't it? Private education was not something to consider at that point. It doesn't start untand several years later and there is enough time to save up a bit. Moreover, school fees goes from salary not savings. I had no intention of being a SAHM and we were both working, so perhaps that helped a bit.

And your CEO example doesn't convince me at all. The countries I mentioned have basically OB led care. In India for example, there is concept of midwives. Even in the rural areas, you have doctors. And no, not all these countries have private healthcare. Canada doesn't for instance, and others ave a mix of both public and private care.

You seem to be against private care simply because of the cost. But for me, these are the kind of things one saves up for. I'd be disappointed in my partner if he denied me and our child better care because he was more worried about a holiday or his savings. Savings can be rebuilt and holidays aren't as important as having a baby. Perhaps you had different priorities, in which case it's fine.

As for the private rooms, they are NOT always available. If they are occupied by emergency cases, you'll have to make do with the ward. This has happened to someone I know.

My husband kept giving me long lectures about the cost as well, but I made it clear that I wasn't going to risk the uncertainty that comes with NHS. Thankfully, I had my own savings which I used to help pay for my delivery.

Could I have forgiven myself if I had ended up giving birth in a corridor or waiting room? No.
I'm certain that had I given birth at our NHS hospital, I would have ended up with an operative vaginal birth which I am completely against. For me that money was worth it just to avoid having to consent to procedures I didn't want at all and which are known to be risky in the wrong hands.
I was secure in the knowledge that nobody was putting my safety at risk because they were exhausted or trying to save their trust some money or just doing things according to "policy". I was also familiar with the credentials of the person delivering my child. It wasn't a random stranger who hadn't even bothered to introduce himself.

I've already listed what all I got with private care. I can't put a price tag on that, but those are just my priorities. If you think it's a waste of money, that's your lookout. I think it was the best money I ever spent.

PeaceAndHope Sun 18-Mar-12 14:59:37

And by the by- working at the till is not part of a CEO's responsibility or training. wink
However, overseeing ANY kind of delivery is part of an OB's training and responsibilities. The things that he/she isn't required to do are things like fitting catheters, IV's, or cleaning bed pans etc.

On the NHS, the OBs don't oversee deliveries, or do pap smears(the nurse does that) or take care of antenatal appointments, or prescribe BC ( we go to GPs for that), which are all basically essential parts of their responsibilities in most other parts of the world.

bemybebe Sun 18-Mar-12 15:16:30

I respect mw and the care they give. I guess this is the best way for 90% of uncomplicated births. Last time I was pg with DD1 she (DD) paid with her life for the hands-off approach of my MW. I kept telling anyone who would listen - her (community MW), sonographer, consultant (1 v rushed and useless NHS appointment) that I experience strange sensation in my vagina like the baby is kicking actually inside the vagina, that I am too bothered with dull constant period pains. All told me that "this if fine", that these are all "normal pg symptoms", "poor you, it will all be worth when the baby is born". And not one sod looked inside.

DD1 was born at 24 weeks, abroad (I was proclaimed fit to travel and I dismissed myself as over-reacting mum-to-be as I needed to finish my work), alone and in the foreign private hospital (great facilities, but I had to pay and claim from the insurance over 50K GBP). My little girl was born with great apgar score but due to prematurity was placed strainght away in a SCBU for 23 days, then she died. This gaping hole in my heart will be there forever.

It turned out I had an incompetent cervix, which allowed GBS to come in and disintegrate placenta over some time. "This is just one of those unfortunate events in life" - this is from the NHS consultant I have seen once in 24 weeks and who was told in length about my concerns.

This time I am not taking any risks. I am under private consultant who is seeing me 3-weekly and whos direct line I have for all concerns.

bemybebe Sun 18-Mar-12 15:25:59

Sorry, one important point I wanted to make but failed is that producing a child does not start and end with the birth itself. There are numerous things that can potentially go wrong for a v small minority of people and arguing "shit happens" and "next time should be different" is just not valid at all.

In my case we are amazing lucky having conceived naturally at 38 and 39 after years of failed IVFs, financial sacrifices and emotional rollercoasters. I realize now that I was taken through the NHS sausage factory without any regards for my personal circumstances and paying attention to my concerns. I wish I spotted it earlier - it all would be so different now.

MsF1t Sun 18-Mar-12 15:51:53

bemybebe - I am speechless and profoundly saddened. What a horrible thing to have happened- I am so sorry. I hope that you made a complaint.

I wish you all the best with this pregnancy. Hope it is event free and as smooth as possible.

PeaceAndHope Sun 18-Mar-12 16:08:44


I'm so sorry to hear this. I can't imagine the grief you must have experienced. I wish you the best of luck with this pregnancy!

Having heard several stories like yours, I was adamant that I would not risk my child's and my own safety, which is why I preferred to go private. I cannot understand how anyone would think private school, holidays eyc. are more important than a safe entry into the world.

midwivesdeliver Sun 18-Mar-12 22:16:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeaceAndHope Mon 19-Mar-12 06:08:49

Midwives deliver:

I knew that Canada and USA do have midwives, although not in every state. If someone prefers a midwife, she can find one almost anywhere in the world, except certain parts of Asia.
In Canada, people still mostly go to OBs. Some of them opt for midwife led care, but that isn't the norm yet. You can confirm all this easily over the Internet.

There are of course midwives and L &D RNs , but they will not look after ante natal care (unless you request it), nor will they single handedly handle the delivery(unless you request it, in which case an OB is usually required to be present somewhere in the premises).

The point is that their healthcare system is still traditionally OB-led and the women opting for midwives are smaller in number (so far). I never claimed they didn't have midwives, I was simply saying they have essentially OB-led maternity care, which is true.

The good thing is, people there have a choice. No one system is forced upon them. Although the rubbish Obamacare may change all that...

I can't say anything good about whoever invented the forceps (although I'm fairly certain it was a French obstetrician/physician who invented them), because I'm passionately against their use.

larrygrylls Mon 19-Mar-12 07:10:37


If my younger son were able to express his point eloquently, I suspect he would beg to differ. When his baseline had sunk to around 90/100 and decels were down to 30/40, due to having a cord round his neck, he was profoundly grateful for the anderson forceps that pulled him out and the paediatricians who supplied him with oxygen to get his breathing going. My wife and I were also not unhappy about it either. Although she did not enjoy being cut and the healing process, she definitely preferred it to a dead or brain damaged baby. And, at that stage, it was the consultant obstetrician wielding them, not a midwife.

Are you deliberately being controversial with your views?

PeaceAndHope Mon 19-Mar-12 08:12:47


My niece who died due to spinal cord injuries inflicted by Neville Barnes forceps and my doubly incontinent sister would also beg to differ.
As someone with a permanent mark on his face due to forceps injuries, my husband too would beg to differ.

I'm not sure if you're aware but it is always the consultant or registrar who uses forceps, not the midwife. I fail to see why you felt the need to bring that up. Consider yourself lucky that the person who used the forceps knew what he/she was doing. When strangers deliver your child, you don't know much about their experience and expertise, so it's a shot in the dark isn't it?

By the way, my daughter had a cord around her neck as well, and her heart rate was abysmally low when I went into labour prior to the date of my scheduled section. There was a consultant who said we could have a trial of forceps in theatre with me prepped for a section, but I refused and an EMCS was done within minutes. I now have a healthy, happy 4 year old who was born without any birth injuries at all. (I would not have been given this choice on the NHS btw, I would have had to consent to a trial of forceps).

I'm sure your wife preferred being cut to a dead baby, anyone would. I was cut too, except it was on my lower abdomen and I preferred it to a dead baby as well. What's the point here?

I'm not being controversial with my views. Im not the one who puts holidays before ante natal care and safety.

In many parts of the world preferring private OB led care, and refusing forceps isn't exactly considered "controversial". In fact it's the norm.

Secondly, I'm curious what you're achieving here on the childbirth section? It's more suited for HCPs and women isn't it? Since you will personally never have to consent to either forceps or a CS or live with the repercussions of poor maternity care I don't much care about your opinion on which is better.

PeaceAndHope Mon 19-Mar-12 08:17:34

I meant to add, that I refused forceps because the chances of baby being brain damaged are higher with the use of forceps, than with a simple lift out procedure. So your justification of forceps having saved your baby from brain damage is a bit ironic. Read the numerous threads here on forceps' risks and benefits- they are the leading cause of birth injuries.

MrsApplepants Mon 19-Mar-12 08:29:01

It cost us 11k all in. (midwive lead care, mobile epidural, superb aftercare, all scans, check ups, tests at the portland, 2 years ago) I can honestly say it was the best money I've ever spent. I thoroughly enjoyed my whole pregnancy and birth as a result and the peace of mind was wonderful, I had the same 2 midwives all through my pregnancy and labour, no waiting for epidural either. I was also given pelvic floor physio the following day. There was no one else giving birth at the same time as me, I had the entire unit to myself!, my DH could stay the night, which was fantastic. I got exactly the birth I wanted (luck may have had something to do with this as well!) I do feel slightly resentful that I had to pay so much to get an experience that should be everyone's right on the nhs but that's the way things are theses days, I guess.

PeaceAndHope Mon 19-Mar-12 08:29:48

See this -

Kiellands forceps or high forceps are no longer used in most parts of the world. Simpsons and Andersons forceps are rarely used, because CS is preferred.

Outlet or Wriggleys forceps can still be used because by that time it may be too late for a section.

My obstetrician has always maintained that the riskiest way for a baby to be born is by means of a forceps delivery. Outlet forceps are not always bad (by that time it is too late for a CS anyway), but she has always told me that as a doctor she herself would never agree to mid or high forceps. These include the dreaded Kiellands forceps of course, but also the Neville Barnes, Anderson's and Simpson's forceps.
(states that forceps are known to cause brachial plexus nerve damage)
(Logistic regression analysis of fetal, maternal, and intrapartum complications in labor and delivery revealed that midforceps, shoulder dystocia, low forceps, infants greater than 3500 g, and second stage labor exceeding 60 minutes were the predominant events associated with fetal injury)
(states that facial nerve palsy is most common in macrosomic infants or those born with the aid of forceps)

^ Fabulous article about birth injuries. From what I could make out majority of the birth injuries had forceps listed as the major risk factor, other than of course fetal birth weight of more than 3500g.
(lists forceps as a major risk factor for pelvic organ prolapse)
(there is an increased risk of anal sphincter damage and hence incontinence with a forceps delivery)
(lists forceps as one of the major risk factors for third degree tears)

PeaceAndHope Mon 19-Mar-12 08:31:56


Meant to add that if you have comments on my posts, please send me a private message. We have hijacked this thread enough.

I'm sorry OP!

Peace, so sorry that those close to you have had such horrible experiences, I now see why you are so (rightly) determined to avoid this.

But...writing off a whole profession is a little harsh. Simply reading the lovely midwifes posts hopefully makes you see that there are some (and from my own experience, many) midwives who are wonderful, committed people who care deeply and expertly for the women in their care.

If it helps, I gave birth via EMCS in a very busy London hospital and had midwives that ranged from amazing to pretty rubbish, but I'd never write off the profession because of it.

Ditto with vets, consultants and GPs.

I hope you get the birth you want smile

<blushes a little bit reading that back>

I am not of course comparing midwives with vets, but I know what I meant!

7 years of training, you pay through the nose, and there are good and bad ones, as in all walks of life.

PeaceAndHope Mon 19-Mar-12 08:57:28


Thank yousmile

But my preference for OBs has little to do with the experiences of my near and dear ones, as OBs also had a part to play in their misfortune.

I'm not writing off midwives. I think they're great for those who want them in the first place. I'm just not one of them!

midwivesdeliver Mon 19-Mar-12 09:04:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

peace I'm glad that you have the choice, and good luck smile

midwivesdeliver Mon 19-Mar-12 09:14:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PeaceAndHope Mon 19-Mar-12 09:45:03


Thanks for the kind words about my niece. This happened after I had had my first child, so I can't blame preferences entirely on my sister's experience. I had decided against their use based on my own research. I think they had their place several years ago, as you explained rather well. But now, with the availability of CS (which is becoming progressively safer than it used to be) I think we need to keep the use of Kiellands and mid forceps to a bare minimum. Outlet forceps are often unavoidable, but they can sometimes be substituted with ventouse.

Elizad Tue 18-Sep-12 10:56:35

Wow all this for just asking what it costs to have a baby privately!!! I'm chuffed to have sparked such a debate.
My first son was Nhs and we had a range of care from exquisite to horrifying. I see midwives as independent carers. Some are incredible ( in fact the best one throughout my 2 day labour was a male midwive, graham at queen charlottes, we love you!!) and, some had no bedside manner, no sense that I was terrified and needed reassurance and generally made me feel like I was overreacting. I still. Feel traumatised by the whole thing. After every intervention possible I felt like I had been in a card crash but with a new baby. I was left battered on my own with no aftercare. Still hard to talk. About it.

I am going private because I need good aftercare, my own space, not a feeling of being rushed home and a place for my husband to stay over. My son has learning disabilities and I need this birth to go smoothly, predictably and peacefully!

Thanks for all the discussions and advice. Just need to start saving now!
E xx

mandymoo123 Tue 25-Jun-13 13:01:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

westminster11 Wed 20-Nov-13 17:00:14

Hi it cost me £11000 for everything and I booked at St Thomas private unit - Westminster Maternity Unit

joeymacc Wed 20-Nov-13 17:14:17

Hi, I think it came to roughly 7k for me at watford, wouldn't have changed a single thing about it. Used the birth team, felt really looked after throughout the experience. Had all my antenatal care on the NHS, since Watford is not actually that local to me, but would potentially even use them for antenatal care if I have another.

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