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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?

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 20:32:27

Anyway, I'm wary of your definition of 'intervention'. You probably think that even if they check the baby's heart rate or do some fetal monitoring if there are signs of distress, that's "unnecessary" intervention.
Are inductions at 42 weeks unnecessary too? What do you say when the NHS is forced to induce for medical reasons like a pregnancy that goes beyond 41 weeks or pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes? Do those interventions bother you too?

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 20:38:34

'Why do you think it's necessary or even safe for all women to have completely intervention free births?'

Who has said that?

So again:

Why are you so angry?


All I said was that the NHS is very unlikely to enable a truly 'natural', 'intervention-free' birth.

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 20:45:38

Firstly, that isn't true. And what is the purpose of that statement anyway?

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 21:09:43


Now can you answer My question?

LaVolcan Mon 08-Apr-13 22:43:48

Indeed PeaceAndHope - why are you getting so angry? You went and resurrected a whole load of old threads the other day.

I haven't said a word about medically necessary CSs (or any other), epidurals, etc.

BirthChoiceUK gave the following figures for Normal Birth:
England (2011) 41.8%
Scotland (2010) 37.6%
Wales & N Ireland it didn't give figures for.

So if the NHS (or those nasty evil midwives) are really pushing a normal birth agenda, the figures don't show them as being very successful.

BirthChoice defines normal birth thus:

"Normal birth", sometimes also described as "natural birth", "physiological birth" or "straightforward vaginal birth" can be defined as a birth where there has been no technological intervention. (Interventions may include inducing labour, and accelerating labour using drugs or by breaking the waters. It also includes using epidural anaesthesia, having an assisted delivery or a Caesarean operation.)

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 23:19:18


I am angry at the all-pervasive NCB ideology which is inherently unscientific and misogynistic.

The definition of normal birth does more harm than good. Are you telling women who have cesareans or inductions or epidurals that what they went through was abnormal and evil? How damaging is that?? What if women WANT pain relief and epidurals? Are you going to say sorry, we can't give it to you because we want to bring up the rates of what we believe is "normal" birth? When tokophobic women request cesareans are you going to refuse it based on the same flimsy excuse?

The NHS is most certainly pushing a natural birth agenda as is evidenced by the number of women who are fighting to get epidurals, cesareans and the women who are fighting to be able to refuse VBACs and being forced to labour at home.

41% normal births is huge. 41% of women in 2013 are giving birth with no medical intervention or pain relief. Unless you're waiting for a throwback to the 1800's, those stats seem fine to me.

So do you only support medically necessary cesareans and epidurals? Don't you think women have the right to request pain relief and refuse a VBAC?
Are you one of those NCB misogynists who wants women to grin and bear the pain of childbirth with no intervention and no pain relief even if they want it?

I am not interested in the stats for how often "normal birth" is or isn't happening. Those stats are pointless without a satisfaction poll. How many women are satisfied with the way they gave birth and what are the reasons behind that satisfaction or dissatisfaction?

The NHS leaves maternity care to midwives and is largely loathe to involve consultants and obstetricians. This comes directly from the NCB culture which idolises and glorifies normal birth whether women want it or not. And yes, I loathe midwives.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 23:30:13

'Are you telling women who have cesareans or inductions or epidurals that what they went through was abnormal and evil?'

Oh yeah. I see Volcan doing this repeatedly on all of her threads hmm

Get a grip. You sound absolutely hysterical.

AFAICS, The NHS is actually pushing the cheapest way of giving birth and justifying it with research that shows an ideology they don't have the staff to actually deliver. So what happens is some kind of half-hearted denial of resource-intensive intervention antenatally and in early labour that a woman needs in the first place because of limitations on care meaning she and her needs are largely ignored until the actual birth when it is usually too late to avoid higher level interventions and complications which we thankfully have the technology to then address.

The NCB movement is about addressing this ^, not about refusing women who need pain relief drugs or their choices.

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 23:34:55

I haven't been living under a rock. I've been through this myself, I know what I'm saying.

The NCB movement is about shaming women who don't give birth "normally". Choices such as VBACs, water births, hypno births, etc are supported and choices such as epidurals, cesareans and inductions are not.

And are you seriously telling me that it's a piece of cake for women to be able to get pain relief on the NHS? I think it must be easier to get an appointment with David Cameron.

Even if women were admitted in the labour ward on time, if they went by your ideology it would make no difference. NCB doesn't believe in fetal monitoring. That brings you right back to interventions when it's too late.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 23:36:33

Who are NCB anyway?

PeaceAndHope Mon 08-Apr-13 23:38:17

Natural Childbirth Movement or NCB movement. In other words, your friends.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 08-Apr-13 23:42:56

What friends? My friends are parent of SN children predomentantly as I have a child who was a product of a mismanaged birth in a MLU centre after 6 hours screaming for an epidural that never came.

Who specifically do you mean? I think the NCB as you define it is in your imagination.

LaVolcan Mon 08-Apr-13 23:49:54

I fully agree with you Starlight: that's what I have gone on about on childbirth threads - the p*sspoor staffing levels which mean that women can't access any support until the latter stages of labour. Getting the appropriate level of support is just as important - so the woman who needs a CS getting fobbed off with an SHO because she had the misfortune to go into labour at the weekend when there is no consultant cover is being failed just as much.

I don't think it's those nasty evil midwives were the ones who were responsible for cutting staffing levels to the bone, or who decided to shut local maternity hospitals (for 'efficiency savings').

PeaceAndHope Tue 09-Apr-13 10:58:35


MLU don't provide epidurals. Surely you knew that?

The NCB as I define it is not my imagination. If you've ever attended an NCB class or spoken to some of the midwives that NHS hires, you'll know what I mean. Intervention=bad, homebirth=good, screaming in pain= good, formula=bad, breastfeeding=good.

Whatever your exaplanations for it may be, I think we can all agree that the NHS maternity care is a disaster.

EasterHoliday Tue 09-Apr-13 11:04:06

back to the original question... if that's your bag, find out where Gowri Motha now delivers - she ran her practice through Viveka / St John & Eliz. In fact if all that is up your alley, you'll find that Viveka in St Johns Wood still offer all the ante / post natal extras that went with the John& Lizzies package like hypnobirthing / classes / reflexology etc etc

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 09-Apr-13 11:23:43

'MLU don't provide epidurals. Surely you knew that?'

Of course I knew that. I was sent upstairs from the labour ward to the MLU as they were full they'd decided that I should could have a 'natural' birth. They refused to transfer me downstairs.

I was pushing a distressed baby for 2.5 hours with no contractions and interventions though very much needed them as there wasn't anywhere for me to go or anyone to help.

I've had 3 children. I have come across good and bad midwives. I would rarely say 'met' as I never saw the same one twice and appointments took less time than actually getting the notes out of my bag. Mostly though, the mw's I have come across are trying very hard to do their best for their clients with little time or appreciation and according to my cousin mw, in a bullying and blame-rife culture.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 09-Apr-13 11:34:08


With ever pg, I had to fight against being given a sweep. In pgs subsequent to my 2nd, I had to fight against induction, against internal examinations, against a hospital birth and in my final pregnancy against glucose testing. I had to fight against premature cutting of the cord and in my final two pregnancies against disrupting the flow of hormones to enable efficient and effective expelling of the placenta (i.e. getting out of the pool or not holding my baby). I had to fight interventions all over the place despite the 3 DIFFERENT PCT's all claiming to be pro-natural birth.

What they are is pro-VB, because it is cheaper (supposedly) but from my experience and knowledge (and I have spent an awful lot of time researching this) the preferance is for an intervention-heavy VB.


It's a fight for a homebirth in many many places. There are so many contraindications which have nothing to do with safety, unless you call unconfident mw's unsafe.

screaming in pain= good,

Perhaps. But not because it is considered good, but because some pain-relief requires more attention. Though when I was denied pain relief I was also told to stop screaming.

Having said that, I never once screamed in my second two births despite having absolutely NO drugs, not even gas and air.


No-one ever says that. They are not allowed to. They World Health Organisation and Unisef advise the NHS (not sure who else should do it? Cow and Gate perhaps?) on the optimal food for infants. That is breastfeeding. Why on EARTH would a mw personally care, or even the NHS for any reason other than health. They have nothing directly to gain. They don't give formula any more.


Well it is factually correct from a nutritional point of view. They also advise on optimal nutrition for adults too.

timeforgin Tue 09-Apr-13 11:40:18

Erm sticks head above parapet I had a natural birth (what I consider to be a natural birth anyway) privately at the Chelsea & Westminster, on the Kensington Wing.

I wanted consultant led care as I am quite anxious and wanted to know I had an expert on hand in case anything went wrong. My goal was always a natural birth without an epidural if I could manage it; I wanted to experience the whole thing as naturally as possible.

The consultant I was with during my pregnancy didn't actually deliver my baby as he was on hols and babe came two weeks early, but his replacement was fantastic and was very pro natural birth.

My waters broke naturally around midnight (sent home after an exam)and I went from first contraction at 6:30am to fully dilated by about 11am, used gas and air during this time. I did have a monitor on because of waters breaking but I didn't find it restrictive and wasn't forced to stay on my back or anything mad like that. And I think it got taken off towards the end but can't remember (that's how much of an impact it had on my birth experience). Two hours of pushing, during which contractions slowed right down and I had some syntocinin on a drip, and then he finally popped out. In hindsight I wonder if I started pushing before my body was really ready - I never really felt the urge to push but during dilation/transition I was begging the consultant to examine me and tell me I was 10cm so I could start pushing.

Two stitches (she was in two minds whether to even bother), and I had the injection for the placenta which came out relatively quickly (no idea how long it actually took, didn't seem more than about 20 minutes).

No doubt someone will come on here and tell me that wasn't a natural birth. Wha'evah.

It was the best day of my life.

timeforgin Tue 09-Apr-13 11:51:16

Also I think it is a bit harsh to say 'NHS maternity care is a disaster', per PeaceandHope. I think it is obviously very hit and miss though.

One of my best friends had two wonderful births in the NHS bit of C&W - epidural for first but not for second (too quick!), both times baby took its time and came out with hand by its head, but came out safely (due to an expert senior midwife), only a few stitches both times.

Another of my NCT friends gave birth in the same hospital at a different, and very busy time of year. They had no rooms left so she gave birth in what was effectively a corridor.

Both friends have observed that it is the ante-natal care where the midwives were totally overstretched. Packed wards, barely any attention from midwives.

The NHS unit my sister gave birth in (way up North) is midwife led, has birthing pools and feels like a private hospital - very roomy, quiet, plenty of attention from midwives. You can choose how long you stay after the birth. To get that in London you have to pay £15k.

It is sad maternity care is not more consistent as it means women don't all get equal access to the best care, and obviously a totally overrun NHS maternity ward has different constraints and priorities than a private ward with abundant staff.

I don't know what the answer is to fix it.

PeaceAndHope Tue 09-Apr-13 12:13:35


Unless you're in the throes of labour you don't have to 'fight' against any intervention. When it comes to things like an induction and a sweep, you can simply refuse. How exactly will they force you to undergo either of those procedures? I had severe back ache and hyperemesis that lasted through the pregnancy. By 40 weeks I was in agony- I begged for a sweep or induction and they refused. I wasn't given one until 42 weeks. If they were pro-intervention, they'd have jumped at the chance to give me an induction wouldn't they?
If you're already 42 weeks, they will offer to start labour for you (as they should due to the risk of stillbirth), but they can't force you.

I can't understand why you'd want to "fight" against glucose testing, but that's your problem not the NHS's. They're just offering standard antenatal care. Hardly counts as an "intervention". Unless you want to spend a pregnancy with undiagnosed gestational diabetes....

Honestly, given your definition of what counts as "intervention", I'm hardly surprised at what you've been saying. You don't even want standard and basic safety measures like a sweep at 42 weeks or glucose testing. And then you claim not to be brainwashed by the natural birth movement.

Congratulations that you never screamed during your births. Unfortunately, some of us do feel the agonising, excruciating pain and hence we do want epidurals. (which we are never given)

If you think that the NHS is not anti-formula, you've been living under a rock. My midwife didn't listen to me when I said I was going to formula feed. She just pushed my gown aside, put the baby on my chest and started lecturing me about how to breastfeed. Since they didn't provide formula at the hospital unless there was a "medical reason" I was forced to breastfeed until I got home. My friends have all had similar experiences. They all felt bullied and pressured to breastfeed. Don't even get me started on what I feel about the NHS not providing formula to new mothers. They've sold out to the NCB and don't want to anger the masses of lactivists by providing formula to mothers who dare to choose differently.

If they want to "advise" us on the best way to feed the baby, they should stop at "advise" (which there is rather enough of on the internet anyway). They shouldn't resort to bullying and shaming.

PeaceAndHope Tue 09-Apr-13 12:15:22


I stand by what I said. NHS Maternity is a disaster. There is no respect for women and no respect for their choices. A couple of positive experiences mean nothing.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 09-Apr-13 12:21:47

I cannot engage with such a selective, rude and biased poster. You will see from a good many of my posts here that I spent 6 hours screaming for an epidural during my first birth and you know that as you have already commented on it.

I think your problem with NHS midwives is less about them and more about you tbh.

PeaceAndHope Tue 09-Apr-13 12:29:31

My problem is with my choices being categorically refused- repeatedly.

Your problem OTOH is a glucose test and an induction which was offered as a routine at 42 weeks, which you just had to say "No" to.

If you were refused an epidural, so was I. So were billions of other women who had the misfortune of giving birth in an NHS hospital. And that's exactly what I'm angry about.

I cannot engage with such a brainwashed and unscientific mindset either.

Xenia Tue 09-Apr-13 13:41:52

The poster on the thread wants the best change of an intervention free birth. Many of do. The fact that some people want more intervention than the NHS will give them is a separate topic for another thread. In the UK there has been a much bigger problem with women suffering more intervention than they want, not vice versa.

I certainly preferred the private midwives as I felt in charge and yes of course my main aim was live twin births whatever the intervention but I wanted to make the choices, eg over whether they would induce at 38 weeks or let me carry on - they came naturally on exactly 40 weeks, my choice, informed choice.

It is not unscientific to say breastfeeding is better. It is better.

However most of us pro breastfeeding would not deny women access to formula milk.

PeaceAndHope Tue 09-Apr-13 13:51:08


Breastfeeding is better? In what way and for whom? How can you make such a sweeping generalisation? And how do you think women who had to formula feed feel when they read these kind of statements?

I didn't say breastfeeding was unscientific. I find the opinions of a lot of the NCB followers on mumsnet unscientific.

If you don't want a induction, a sweep, an epidural or a cesarean- the NHS will be secretly thrilled because it saves them loads of money. They offer it when they absolutely have to not because they want to. Refusing any medical treatment is an undeniable right. This isn't the USA where they'll get court orders to perform the treatment on you anyway.

It's also very easy to look back and say your intervention was "unnecessary" but you will never know for sure will you? Babies die due to lack of timely intervention and lack of care, not the other way around.

If you don't want something, just say no. The struggle is to fight for what you DO want. It's a struggle to fight for an epidural, an induction, an elective cesarean or to fight your way out of being forced into a VBAC. The problem on the NHS is women being denied the right to choose the interventions they want.

"In the UK there has been a much bigger problem with women suffering more intervention than they want, not vice versa."

A more untrue statement has never been uttered. You're lucky if you get any intervention at all. You're lucky if you get a bed on the ward FFS. Then when you get there, all they want you to do is to "take a bath".

This system keeps women as far away as they can from obstetricians, epidurals, cesareans and inductions and formula. How much more anti-intervention can they be??

PeaceAndHope Tue 09-Apr-13 13:54:04

To let your twins come naturally at 40 weeks is not a a "fight". To choose an elective cesarean for them at 38 weeks is the fight.

If they suggest an induction at 38 weeks, you just have to say "No" and go home. They can't chain you to a bed and do it anyway. Nor can they refuse you and turn you away when you arrive on the ward in active labour at 40 weeks.

Congrats on your informed choice, but spare me the drama about what a "fight" it was.

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