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Whittington birth?

(13 Posts)
Karmanna Wed 15-Jun-11 12:57:58

Hi all,

I'm currently 10 weeks pg with #1, and have decided to give birth at the Whittington Hospital in Archway simply because it's the closest to us (we don't have a car so will be relying on cabs or god forbid, public transport!).

If anyone's given birth there in the last year or so, could you please let me know what it was like?

Thanks a lot!

sprinkles77 Wed 15-Jun-11 13:40:26

Had DS there 15 months ago. Labour ward and birthing centre and staff all lovely. Ante natal ward (hopefully you'll never see it) and post natal ward (you probably will) are horrid and the staff not very helpful or attentive. Each is staffed by a different team of midwifes (though the doctors are the same bunch). Therefore there is no continuity of care. Actually not a problem for me, and I fully intend to go back if I get pregnant again. In addition, I had to go as an emergency in the middle of the night at 38 weeks as DS seemed to have stopped moving. Staff were great. I have recommended it to a couple of others. my SIL had her DS there 3 weeks ago in the birthing unit and would I suspect tell you the same thing as me. She had a super fast labour and a bad tear, and was managed very well. Pregnancy and childbirth are difficult and unpredictable. I think invariably part of the experience will be not what you had hoped for. Take with a pinch of salt any horror stories you come across. Thumbs up from me though.

Karmanna Wed 15-Jun-11 14:41:04

Thank you - that's very helpful! Yeah, I'm more fussed about the labour ward and staff - I think you can't expect too much from any post natal wards so I'm kind of half expecting that to be a bit shoddy! Hopefully I won't have to be there for long! smile

FloweryBoots Thu 16-Jun-11 08:44:17

I had DS1 there last August. Started in the birth centre which was really lovely. Had to transfer to the labour ward as he got stuck but the staff there were also fantastic. The atmosphere and equipment in the labour ward wasn't so lovely as the birth centre, but then it's not supposed to be the same sort of atmosphere really, plus we'd got to a bit of an emergency state so of course it wasn't going to be as chilled. Highly recomned the birth centre.

Post natal ward was OK. They are huge, which makes them noisey and can mean your miles away from toilets or food stations sometimes, but I found the staff there fantastic. I was in for 4 days after giving birth as DS wouldn't feed and I was just a bit of a mess after a fairly tough birth. Staff were so helpful with the feeding and took loads of time to help us get it going, and tought me to express and syringe feed until then so we didn't have to use formula. They were also fab with me, I was feeling pretty traumatised and they were great. The wards are noisy and cramped though.

Thandeka Thu 16-Jun-11 09:04:25

You probably don't want hear about the completely horrific time I had there.

Having said that the NICU team were absolutely amazing as were the brilliant woodside community midwives who I still adore and will be eternally grateful too (in fact if you end up with woodside team - tell them I still love them!).

The midwives I had during labour and postnatally were often completely rubbish and had to do formal complaints about a couple of them. The healthcare assistants were lovely though.

Jezabella Thu 16-Jun-11 13:16:18

DD was born a year ago in a pool in the birth centre and, personally speaking, I couldn't have wished for a better experience - the facilities were amazing and the midwives/staff lovely and very supportive. I have other friends with babies of the same age who also had very positive experiences in the birth centre, though know others who ended up on the labour ward who were less happy with things. I seem to recall from our labour ward/birth centre tour that they said the Whitt handles 4000 births a year(!), so there will always be good and bad stories.

Karmanna Thu 16-Jun-11 17:24:18

Thanks all for your comments! Slightly mixed reviews but suppose that's to be expected! smile Seems like the staff and midwives generally get the thumbs up and that was my main concern so feel slightly better now!

babynelly2010 Thu 16-Jun-11 20:02:39


I researched whittington quite a bit prior signing up with them for my 1st birth that happened this February. I found great reviews compare to many hospitals in the area. My experience with them during antenatal care was hit and miss. My 20 weeks scan was accompanied by a rudest lady I have ever met and mid wives were in general good throughout but had couple very incompetent ladies on few occasions. I was also refused couple of appointments at the end of my pregnancy due to shortage of staff. When I went on the tour I literately felt ill looking at the post natal wards, and I've never felt sick during my pregnancy smile At the end I really doubted my choice until the very end, I began seeing benefits. I was not having any labor symptoms so I was able to sign up for acupuncture session to help the labor come along.... Wow, that was great! My case also went to the birthing centere team and wow how different it was. The midwives there were calm and not over stressed, totally different environment. At 1 week overdue we checked into the birthing centere at 2 cm with contractions. The centere was not busy and they let us check in early even though they are not supposed to let you in until you are 4 cm. We ended up having a wonderful water birth and for most midwives were great. I ended up having retained membranes later so we returned for some postnatal care which was very detailed but slow with a lot of wait at times.
With that said, if we have number 2 and whittington is near by we will return to the birth centere.....

sunflower Thu 16-Jun-11 22:10:56

I had baby no. 3 there earlier this year. AN care was generally good (including an inpatient stay - received really good care). I had the most amazing midwives on the labour ward for the birth - really respectful, caring, and totally filled me with confidence. Postnatal ward a bit grim, but that seems to be common. Baby no. 2 also born there some years ago, and in general that was a pretty positive experience. I'd definitely go back to the Whittington if I had another.

cardamomginger Fri 17-Jun-11 12:47:19

Gave birth there in September 2010. Antenatal appointments were fine - on time, friendly MWs, generally saw the same one each time. I intended to use the MW led birthing centre, which is GORGEOUS. MWs there were fab - I had 3 on 1 care. In the end it didn't work out and after a few hours I transferred to the labour ward. Again, MWs were great - I had 2 on 1 care. Didn't have to wait for an epidural, and the anaesthetist was fab. Not all of the labour room shave toilets, so you'd either be catheterised, as I was, or you have to go down the corridor to the loo. In front of everyone. Hmm. Other downsides are that the antenatal and postnatal wards are horrendous. Old fashioned, Victorian wards with no privacy, lots of noise, lights (dimmed but still pretty bright) on all night, not enough bathrooms and toilets (which were disgusting, broken and dirty) and the staff were a bit hit and miss in terms of being friendly/sympathetic, etc. If you go on a tour you'll be told that you can request an "amenity room", which is a private room on the ward, if you pay them I think 100 quid a night. Don't believe a word of it. These are generally not available unless there is a real emotional/physical need. And even then not always - a friend who had had an EMCS and who had an ill newborn had to cope with 4 days on the main ward before she was shipped into a side room. She almost went mad. Another point to make - they (doctor, not MW) did a very bad job of stitching me up afterwards, having missed the deep tears that occurred. Also, the community MWs afterwards quite cheerfully informed me that my tears were healing fine and that nothing was infected. Even though they were infected and had opened up confused. But I think that is a danger you face everywhere and generally people on MNet say that if you have any doubts just go straight to your GP. I've heard some bad reports from the Royal Free, so I think if I were to have another DC and go NHS (the first is undecided and the second is a definite no), I would still go for Whittington. You could look at UCH. Have heard some great things. But the thing that put me off was what would happen if it all kicked off during rush hour and I got stuck in traffic for an hour. Like you, I am just round the corner from the Whittington and knowing I could be there in 5-10 minutes was a great comfort!
Lastly, you can self refer for maternity care and you can switch hospitals (again by self referring). So don't worry that you have to get it right now.

cardamomginger Fri 17-Jun-11 12:48:40

Oh yeah - and the acupuncture is great! She even came onto the labour ward and did a treatment when I was finding things very bad.

Karmanna Fri 17-Jun-11 16:15:53

Thanks Cardamom! I think whichever way you look at it, it's never going to be 100% brilliant, but I've heard bad things about other places too and as Whittington is closer I think I might stick to that. My GP told me UCH wasn't an option for me - she didn't quite explain why though, maybe I'm not in their catchment area. My friend just gave birth at UCH last month and said they were good, but yes you're right - it'd be a nightmare to get to in rush hour! :S

Nubbin Fri 17-Jun-11 16:22:38

I gave birth there in Dec 2009. Antenatal care was fine although there were long delays at every appointment. I was due to use the birthing centre but was induced so couldn't - I found the antenatal ward waiting to be induced stressful (and a bit manky) but the labour ward was fine. First midwife was lovely, second was horrible but the emergency team (forceps delivery) were amazing. Postnatal - I managed to wangle a private room with ensuite (without having to pay) it was very busy and I think I was one they didn't need to keep much of an eye on. Even so I hated the post natal ward but for reasons generic to all of them - the constant checking through the night, noise etc. I just wanted to go home and kept being delayed. There is a strong emphasis on breastfeeding which I found quite overbearing (and I was trying to breastfeed). If I had another and was in London would definitely still go back there.

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