King's or St. Thomas's?(5 Posts)
My partner and I are trying to choose a hospital for the birth of our first child. We live in Lambeth, south London and have narrowed our choice to either King's or St. Thomas's. The GP is heavily pushing St. Thomas's but it's further than away than King's. Has anyone given birth in either of these two places in the last 12 months? What are staffing levels like (being a first birth neither of us know what to expect and are both quite nervous. Our worst case scenario is having one midwife shared with 6 other people)?
Any comments on either department would be much appreciated.
Thank in advance.
I had an elective c section at St. Thomas's last December (due to transverse lie). Ante-natal care was excellent (I was high risk though) but post-natal ward grim. Probably the same everywhere though, and hopefully you wouldn't have to stay in
I just gave birth at St. Thomas' two weeks ago.
- Thought the specialist staff were exceptional
- Midwives in Home from Home and hospital birth centre were generally good - some excellent and others average. However hey are VERY busy so will be stretched. As I went in to be induced, I found I was often "forgotten" about as I was not progressing very fast and there were other more urgent cases ahead of me. Still they were mainly pleasant and as helpful as they could be, respected my wishes etc.
- I had fantastic epidural resulting in a pain free labour, and was still mobile enough to walk around my room, sit on birthing ball/stool, go to the toilet on my own etc. A lot of the horror stories I read on MN proved to be not applicable for me and it was a very positive experience with this.
- I also ended up with an EMCS and haven't really experienced any real pain since. Not sure what they did to me but clearly it was good work.
- Amazing views from your room of the houses of parliament, Big Ben, London Eye.... we went for some lovely strolls along the river while I was contracting (before the epidural)
- Since hospital food often leaves much to be desired it was good to have an M&S food shop and a few cafes in the hospital, as well as numerous restaurants in the area that did take away!
- The post natal unit was horrific, although can't say it was any worse than any other hospital. 4 beds per room = you will not get any sleep. Very stressful environment. Midwives have zero respect for sleeping patients and their babies.
- Midwives were even more stretched in this unit, and I rarely got their attention for more than a few minutes at a time. They also often forgot to bring me my meds.
- Midwives were not at all helpful with breastfeeding (conflicting advice etc) yet were reluctant to discharge me as they felt I needed more of their "help".
Although I've never given birth at King's I would wager a bet that St. Thomas' is no worse... probably will encounter similar problems which are more of a reflection of the quality of care on the NHS than the hospital itself.
I gave birth at King's nearly 3 years ago and I'm due to do it again in 10 weeks, although it will (hopefully) be a home birth. My experience was very similar to the above posts regarding St. Thomas- very busy and HORRIFIC post natal care. But I think that is the case with all London hospitals. So if your worse case scenario is one midwife to six women I would consider looking in to a doula or independent midwife. Also, as this is MN, I have to say- Have you considered a home birth? With my first birth I was in labour for a long time and it helped to stay at home for as long as possible.
One thing that has recently changed at King's is that they now offer three scans routinely (12, 20 and 32 weeks) and you are offered an internal scan to check your cervix for risk of preterm labour and uterine blood flow.
Either way, good luck!
Following on from californiaburrito, if you would consider a homebirth then King's is great - we were booked in with the Brierly midwives, & they were brilliant. We ended up transferring to the hospital during labour, & the midwife stayed with us the whole time (a shift that lasted from 9am till 4am for her, & made all the difference to us).
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