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Best Private Option For a Natural Birth?

(93 Posts)
DaisyBug Thu 04-Apr-13 19:23:45

Not pregnant yet but wondering....

Now that John and Lizzy's no longer do births, what's the best option for those who'd prefer a back-to-nature approach and aren't averse to a bit of whale music? The likes of The Portland/Lindo Wing/etc. don't seem to be very geared-up to this. Or am I out of touch?

I would have considered an independent midwife at home but, with this option likely to be disappear shortly too and availability of NHS midwives for homebirths being something a lottery, I'm wondering if there are any other avenues I should be exploring?

Karoleann Thu 04-Apr-13 22:21:10

The Portland has a birthing pool or two and so does the refitted Lindo wing, most consultants are pro natural birth if its safe.
I had two with mr gibb, although I don't know if he's currently practising.

NotSpartacus Thu 04-Apr-13 22:22:44

Why is an independent midwife no longer an option?

Xenia Thu 04-Apr-13 22:33:31

I used private midwives for my twin birth and it was great - Caroline Flint etc. I think they now run through -

LaVolcan Thu 04-Apr-13 23:33:36

i didn't think the Lindo wing had birthing pools - the Consultants didn't want them.

Private midwives will no longer be able to practise from October, unless someone can sort out insurance for them, so that won't be any use to someone who isn't pregnant yet.

fgr Fri 05-Apr-13 06:58:15

The Portland has a Midwife Led Service and are very pro natural and there are birthing pools, balls etc. If you prefer a consultant it will be a case off finding one who is very pro natural, there are loads and if you search old threads on here you will find recommendations. Is this your first TTC?

ImogensMumJess Fri 05-Apr-13 08:20:10

Do you need to go private?
I had a fantastic water birth on NHS in the middle of London, I had the lights turned down low, music on, no drugs and all went according to plan (delayed cord cutting, skin on skin etc) till my placenta refused to come out and I had to go in to theatre. So was pleased I was in hospital as would have had to go there anyway.hmm

I guess it's a lottery on your local services though

StarlightMcKenzie Fri 05-Apr-13 22:12:51

Homebirth with a doula means that the mws are called when they need to be and no sooner, and that when they arrive they keep out of your space unless medically indicated.

I loved my homebirth on the NHS. MWs were fantastic. Doula was fantastic.

DaisyBug Sun 07-Apr-13 16:17:43

Thanks all.

I didn't think The Lindo Wing had any pools either?

Gosh Xenia, how wonderful to have managed a homebirth of twins! Great that you found independent midwives prepared to do that too.

As for whether I need to go private, it's something I've been budgeting for for years, as had always had either John and Lizzie's or an independent midwife in mind. It would be nice to think it wasn't necessary but I do worry about there not being enough NHS midwives being available at the time, as I gather this sometimes happens. That's encouraging to hear however that midwives are needed for relatively little time if you have a doula.

I'm wondering whether, once independent midwives are no longer able to practise, whether any will still be happy to be around in more of an advisory/doula-like capacity? I, for one, would certainly be prepared to pay for this.

Xenia Sun 07-Apr-13 19:38:10

DB, as soon as we knew it was twins (4th baby/ies) I and they decided we would start at home and move to an NHS hospital which would allow private midwives in as twin births can be very risky and are often very early. However twin 1 came quite quickly with the midwives here at home. Twin 2 decided he would like to be born another day I suspect and was fed up with his brother and the contractions gradually stopped so we went to hospital with twin 1 as a visitor and after a drip twin 2 was born naturally and we came home that night back home again. The first twins my birth registrar knew of where they were born in different London boroughs 7 hours apart. I never expected two 5 - 7 hour separate labours on the same day but birth is very unpredictable.

When we knew it was twins I asked my GP if I should not bother with private midwives but he said it was all the more important (his wife is an independent midwife) as the NHS are very interventionist with twins as indeed can private hospitals be. This is the big issue - if you pay in the UK for a private hospital you can have a worse birth and more intervention as non intervention is cheap in a sense.

My private midwives let the twins stay in util 40 weeks for example (they were monitored and fine). the NHS want to get them out at 38 weeks whether they are ready or not as a matter of policy.

I did not know that about private midwives so cannot comment on rules about insurance but there is nothing to stop any mother delivering at home and hiring a doula to help with that or indeed free b irthing if they want to or having NHS midwives at home.

I have not checked whatever this change is. There are lots of jobs where if you aren't insured people might sue you but you are not obliged to have insurance and can take a risk. however if there is a new law which says it is illegal to practise as an independent midwife after October then that's different. Might be worth emailing the midwives on my link above to see what they say about October changes.

TremoloGreen Sun 07-Apr-13 20:47:12

Whereabouts in London are you? I had the same question but decided to go with the NHS in the end as I had the option locally of a fab birth centre and have found my local maternity services to be very pro natural birth (probably because it's cheaper). I reckoned I'd be wasting my money going private.

If I hadn't been happy with what was on offer I would have gone with the private suite at St Thomas's - I think they have pools etc. It's always best to be in a well-equipped teaching hospital if there is an emergency. You could also consider spending as long as possible just at home (if it's your first baby, it's likely there'll be plenty of time) then transferring to hospital last minute. You could hire a doula or similar to help you through this stage and put you at ease.

Karoleann Sun 07-Apr-13 21:46:42

I may be wrong about the Lindo, I had a tour when they were undergoing refurb and the woman showing me around told me where the pool was going - worth checking.
I had dc1 at the landsell suite in st Thomas. TBH I preferred the Portland, I started off at st Thomas' again with dc2, but didn't feel the care was great.
Will you probably be a low risk birth? Do you have any health problems, or are you an older mum? If you're going to be consultant led anyway, maybe choose a consultant and then see where they deliver. Otherwise have a look round the units.

PeaceAndHope Sun 07-Apr-13 23:07:51

Why would you go private for an all-natural birth when the NHS is only too happy to oblige you for free?

Jokes apart, private care is all about choice. You're in control. You could pick any hospital and have a natural birth if you wanted.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 07:52:20

Because natural or otherwise is heavily influenced by your environment, attitude and time of caregivers and level of support.

Xenia Mon 08-Apr-13 08:24:17

I could have afforded a private hospital but I did find the private midwives better reflected my own views of birth. There are a lot of women in private hospitals who want epidurals and C sections and a lot of doctors who are perhaps a bit too cautious. I was open to any intervention necessary to save the children of course - you cannot predict what birth will be like but I found having the private midwives was a good option. Also they came to the house for all the ante natal which saved me money as I work for myself. Anyway if they stop operating in October then it's a bit pointless my writing about them i suppose.

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 09:31:43

There are many private midwives and birthing centres. Furthermore, the NHS is so anti-intervention and pro-natural, that you may not even need to go private.

Private care has higher rates of epidurals and c-sections, because it's usually women like myself who use it- women who want the c-section and epidural. It doesn't mean they will force you to have it.

You're the one in control because you're paying. Unless it's a matter of life or death (in which case you'd be wise to listen to the doctors anyway), they won't be forcing anything on you. That's the advantage of private care- they don't bully you to accept interventions based on 'hospital policy'.

LaVolcan Mon 08-Apr-13 10:27:23

Peddling your own agenda PeaceAndHope. NHS pro-natural with a 25-33% CS rate as the norm? Could have fooled me.

Read the OP's post. She isn't pregnant yet, hence a private midwife won't be an option for her, because they won't exist after October, unless the insurance issue is sorted out.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 10:32:07

'Furthermore, the NHS is so anti-intervention and pro-natural, that you may not even need to go private'


PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 19:59:39


How much more "pro-natural" do you want them to be? Do you want all women to give birth at home with a 5% cesarean rate? Do you want the epidural rate to be down to zero?

Do you also oppose medically necessary cesareans? What in your opinion should an ideal cesarean rate be? Given the conditions for which a cesarean is medically necessary- breech baby, placenta previa, more than 2 prior cesareans, transverse baby, sometimes pre-eclampsia, in some cases twins...not to mention the inevitable cases of obstructed labour and fetal distress that arise in labour. Calculate the percentage of women with one or more of these medical factors and a 23% cesarean rate will not be shocking to you.
The NHS wants nothing more than to bring down the cesarean rates. Read the new RCOG guidelines. Read the innumerable threads started by women who are forced into VBACs. Read about tokophobic women who are denied cesareans. Read about the number of women who are told to labour at home until they reach at least 6 cm dilation because it's "better for them", even though they are in excruciating pain and want to be admitted to hospital for pain relief (this has happened to me so don't bother denying it). Read about the number of women denied epidurals by midwives.Only 30-33% of women manage to get an epidural while in labour.

NHS is anti-formula, anti-cesarean. They don't even give women the right to seek consultant led care- I was forced into midwife-led care even though there ideology completely differs from mine.
They promote midwives, breastfeeding, and any method of pain relief that isn't an epidural. Their policies revolve around reducing cesareans rates and epidural rates and increasing breastfeeding rates- at any cost, even denying women choice.

How much more of the NCB ideology do you want to see on the NHS?

We're forced to room-in no matter how knackered and exhausted we are after the birth, because they did away with nurseries a long time ago. We are unduly pressured to breastfeed. We are denied pain relief. We are even denied the right to choose a cesarean or often the right to refuse a VBAC. I don't see anything "pro-intervention" about that.

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 20:01:10


I'd bet my life savings that you're a midwife. Only a midwife or someone brainwashed by NCB ideology would balk at a 23% cesarean rate in this day and age. Good grief.

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 20:02:40

Why can't she pay for her own midwife? Women who want cesareans or guaranteed epidurals have to pay for it themselves because the NHS absolutely refuses to oblige us.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 20:07:34

Very few NHS midwives have experience a truly 'natural' birth.

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 20:10:49

And what is a "truly natural birth"? Out in the woods with no fetal monitoring and no pain relief and no obstetrician? So that if something goes wrong, death is almost certain?

Honestly, wow. How much more "natural" do you want births to be without taking some serious risks? Besides why do you assume that this is an injustice? Did it strike you that many women might actually be OK with a medicalised birth?

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 20:13:58

What are you so angry about? I simply pointed out that there is practically no such thing as an intervention-free birth on the NHS, though some places do try their best, they have often miles and miles to go still.

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 20:30:16

Why do you think it's necessary or even safe for all women to have completely intervention free births? Why is that a goal? Isn't the goal a happy and healthy mother and baby? Does it matter how it's achieved or must it satisfy some agenda and ideology?

MOST places push for intervention free births and given how hard up the NHS is for money, they'll be damned before they use a resource unless it's absolutely necessary. My SIL was denied an ELCS even with two prior cesareans due to obstructed labour.

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