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Have to choose hospital before first midwife booking in appt. Confused.

(15 Posts)
Hubbubs Mon 23-Jun-14 20:57:52

I'm in a completely different area of the country and I've noticed that speaking to my midwife for the first time on the phone, I am being asked to decide where I want to give birth before she can book me in.

My local hospital websites aren't very easily navigable and I'm getting conflicting information, so do I really have to go on a couple of maternity tours before I can decide? The maternity tour with my first child was far later in the day, I was heavily pregnant by then.

I can't have the home birth I want so I prefer a midwife led unit (MLU) but when I asked on the phone, she said that yes, one of the hospitals I mentioned did have a MLU. However, it's website says not. She also seemed very surprised that I was undecided yet ; 'Oh, but everyone has their baby at (this particular hospital) if you're from that area'.

As all my initial antenatal appointments and scans and so on will be at my chosen hospital, I can't have my first midwife booking in appointment until I make the decision. Is this normal nowadays? hmm It's only been 6 years since my last birth.

What do you advise -

decide based on hospital websites only,
do a couple of maternity tours (only found out was lregnant a week and half ago, seems a bit too soon)
choose any hospital for now and hope if needs be can change mind later

Mummymidwife87 Mon 23-Jun-14 21:07:02

In my neck of the woods, you go to your GP and they say where do you want to deliver or this is your local hospital... You say where and they refer. No tour of units

SouthDerbyshireMamma Mon 23-Jun-14 21:07:29

I live on the boarder of two counties. I had to decide before my booking appointment where I wanted to give birth and this is my first child. Hospital tours are not an option at either hospital. I asked friends and family and read hospital reviews on NHS choices. The paperwork was different for each hospital.

My friend had chosen the opppsit hospital to me however she has since requested to change and has been advised it is easy to do.

Buffy81 Mon 23-Jun-14 21:09:51

Where I am, I chose my hospital when I first saw the midwife. Maybe it depends on the PCT for where you live. In regards to the mlu, maybe its worth giving the hospital a ring to find out or pay a visit up there and pip to the main reception. It could be that it is based next door to the hospital which is why you can't find it on the main website as it is classed as a separate unit, but borrows the hospital maternity unit if it needs to. Where I used to work at a hospital, we had a building in the research park and a private hospital next door. Even though we had dealings with them, you would not find them on the trust website

squizita Mon 23-Jun-14 22:05:40

They like you to say but they just pencil you in: you're well within your rights to change it later. I guess it helps them with planning care to know roughly where everyone's going.
Mine was changed because my consultant for a pre-existing condition suggested I go to his hospital, a few phonecalls to confirm and I was shifted away from the local one no issues.

rockstars12 Tue 24-Jun-14 08:43:20

My doctor automatically referred me to the nearest, didnt ask a preference at all. It's because the midwives you see are generally specific to a particular hospital or trust.
At 12 weeks we were told in our pregnancy that another hospital would be better at they're a specialised centre, so we changed. It meant we had awhile new booking in appointment with an entirely different set of midwives.
I guess they can only allocate you a midwife appointment when they know who you want to be under.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Tue 24-Jun-14 09:02:48

My GP always asked which hospital I wanted to go to and did my referral to whichever I'd chosen.

Never had a tour, I thought hospitals didn't do those until later on in pregnancy.

WhoMovedMyVuvuzela Tue 24-Jun-14 09:40:23

TBH I would just pick the nearest hospital and get the booking appointment done...do your research after you have had the 12 weeks scan (at which point you should/may be feeling less sick) and go from there. Presumably you will have the 12 week scan at your 'chosen' hospital which should give you a feel for the place.

IMO it will take a while to decide which hospital you would like to choose. Is you DC1 at a school where you see much of the other Mums? Could you ask then what their experiences are of the choice of hospitals?

...also, re the home-birth, do you agree with the reasons why you cannot have one? I'm in on the 'not allowed' list but am safely managing to have one this time.

RAFWife12 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:00:23

I'm having to deal with 2 different NHS trusts during my pregnancy -in the process of transferring now at 34-35 weeks.
My first trust has one hospital with a MLU in the main hospital separated from the consultant led unit by a set of double doors. So no decisions had to be made before booking.
Second trust I have been asked already where I want to deliver, but no decision has to be made till I've been booked in. The MLU is in a separate town to the consultant led unit - and I will be living in a town in the middle!
Think it is unusual for you to have to have made some kind of decision this early on! But you should be able to change your mind later.

ffallada Tue 24-Jun-14 11:24:37

Hi OP,
Im my area the doctor made me chose a hospital at my first appointment - I think its fairely standard practice. I was a little blind-sided and made my choice of hospital based on how easy it was to park (one hospital has free parking and the other you have to pay). In hindsite this is not the best way to pick a hospital. I have since asked the midwife who advises changing (if I still want to) after 20 week scan. Until that point your notes are flying around the place so its best to leave things as they are.

So please dont worry - your choice now wont affect your ability to change. I'd follow the others advice and go with the one thats easiest to get to for the moment.

Not many hospitals do a tour now - think of the infection control risk of having lots of people poking around the hospital!

At the end of the day it appears that most hospitals are the same (at least in my area). They have the same no. of birthing pools, same policys. They all have good and bad stories. I try not to listen to either too much - no point in the additional worry.

Good Luck and congratulations

PeppermintInfusion Tue 24-Jun-14 12:34:10

I had this chat with my GP this morning - I had a choice of three (could have went further afield if I'd wanted).
One was a midwife led unit only, apparently that means no access to epidurals and you had to be a low risk pg so unless you are sure you don't want that it may be something to ask. The other two have less deciding factors, so I picked one for now and can change it later if I want.

Do you know any other mums you can ask? I know a few docs and mums and they were able to recommend. Not sure if you could decide from their websites, as a lot of the comments were based on the general feel of the place, attitude of the staff etc rather than particular facilities.

NickyEds Tue 24-Jun-14 14:52:43

I chose at my first mw booking appointment. I think it was mainly to see if I was interested in a home birth. My mw was attached to one of my two main choices so I went with that one and that's where I went for scans etc and eventually had DS. They did however say that I could just change my mind if I wanted to after visiting them. You're notes seem to be attatched to you-not your hospital.
It sounds a bit silly but one of the reasons I went with the hospital I did was logistical- DS was due in December and I was terrified of getting stuck in snow- one hospital was up a very long winding hill, the other along a by-pass I knew was always kept clear!!!! It also had a great mlu and a nice consultant led unit on the same site. Oh, and everyone got a private room on the maternity recovery ward.

liquidstatehasrisenagain Tue 24-Jun-14 16:23:57

I was given a choice of two and was pushed towards one by the midwife as the thyroid specialist was there. That hospital did not do tours and the parking was horrendous as well as bad commuter traffic to get there. Inside it just felt like a birth conveyor belt iygwim. After a consultant appointment when she was very rude to me as well as nearly 2 hours late for no reason I switched to the other smaller hospital. Its so much nicer so have not regretted the choice.

Interestingly the first hospital had a recent inspection and has literally today been picked out as not having enough midwifes for the midwifery unit to run.

I was told I could change anytime up to a week before the birth but its best to switch earlier. Also the hospital I have switched to do not allow tours before 33 weeks. The one I switched from did not do tours at all.

Hubbubs Tue 24-Jun-14 18:17:35

I had my first two in West Yorkshire. One at home and one in hospital. The hospital did tours at any stage then.

I'm shy and can't imagine a scenario where I walk up to strangers at the school gates and say, 'Nice weather. Where did you drop your sprog?' grin

WhoMoved It's not that I can't have a home birth, it's because the fatherhas no experience ie be doesn't seems to know anyone who's had one, and he's also known 'lots' of people who've had birth complications, so I think it's understandable from his point of view he'd prefer emergency facilities. Me, I'd have a baby on the beach at midnight if I could blush

camillebbmvalez12345 Tue 24-Jun-14 18:48:47

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