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What's the best hospital to give birth in or near Fulham?

(25 Posts)
DoMyBest Sun 21-Sep-14 19:27:00

Could anyone recommend a good hospital (not so busy you're virtually guaranteed to be ignored unless you/your baby are dying, not too depressing an atmosphere, if you ask nicely they might let you stay in a day after the birth) to give birth on the NHS in or around Fulham? Charing Cross doesn't seem to have a natal unit (just pre/post natal), Queen Charlotte's is miles away (we don't have a car) and Chelsea & Westminster -to my surprise - has had bad reviews for its natal department from both users and the goverment! I just want to go somewhere where I'm not made to feel my pregnancy is an inconvenience for overworked & underpaid staff. And, ideally where if things go wrong and my gynecologist is operating there might be someone else around to step in. Thanks.

StealthToddler Sun 21-Sep-14 19:32:18

I had 3 great experiences at c&w and one not so good (ds2 in 2009). Since 2009 they have got more permanent midwives and seem to have improved immensely. My last two were in 2011 and 2013. Not so great being stuck in the post natal ward for 3 days and we tried to get a private room but never got close to the top of the list.

Kewrious Sun 21-Sep-14 19:45:41

C&W. Had DS there in 2012. Excellent antenatal care and decent postnatal care. Yes, the postnatal wards are busy but that's fine I think- I spent 3 says there too, and it was fine. I had to be a bit assertive at times but on the whole they were great and their breastfeeding support was excellent.

DoMyBest Sun 21-Sep-14 19:50:59

This is reassuring, thank you both. It will be my first birth in the UK and all the positive reviews of C&W I'd read to date were posted by mothers with serious complications - the implication being that unless something's going really wrong you'll just be shoved in a corner & ignored, fighting for a glass of water. Whilst we're on the subject, all gyneacologist recommendations welcome too.

Kewrious Sun 21-Sep-14 21:43:42

If you are giving birth on the NHS you may never see a gynae- just the midwives. And you can't choose yours anyway.

Kewrious Sun 21-Sep-14 21:49:11

Are you American by any chance? I lived there for ages so know the system a bit. Here your antenatal care and delivery will be handled entirely by midwives unless there is a complication and you need medical intervention. At which point whichever doctor is on call will come and see to you. You don't choose a gynae and most of us in busy London hospitals never even see the same midwife twice. Also epidurals are less common here than in the US and you really have to insist you want one (if you do). Your child will also rarely see a paediatrician. Unless he/she is ill and requires specialist care. A paediatrician will see the baby before you are discharged but in the 2.9 years since he was born he has only ever been to the GP. Sorry if you know all this and I am stating the bleeding obvious!!

DoMyBest Sun 21-Sep-14 21:51:10

Ah, thanks Kewrious. I (naively) thought it would be like nhs in the last country we lived in: you favour the hospital your gynae practices at and gynae's called as soon as you arrive & turns up in the middle of the night to follow your birth! If you're nhs do you have to go in line behind private if you want an epidural? As in if they're busy with epidurals in private you risk missing out?

SunshinePickle Sun 21-Sep-14 21:54:24

When you get an epidural will depend on how busy the anaesthetist is. This (often) doesn't mean that private patients get seen first (as in many hospitals different anaesthetists cover private/nhs), but it does mean if anaesthetist is in an emergency c-section or otherwise busy you may have to wait.

Kewrious Sun 21-Sep-14 21:58:46

No no you don't. Not at all. All docs are employed by the NHS and do private work in their spare time to earn more so your anaesthetist on call wouldn't be seeing to private patients simultaneously. I have found the system to be more pro natural birth than anti and the common pain relief methods offered are gas and air, pethidine, etc. Epidural is seen as a last resort and a lot of ppl say it will lead to instrumental deliveries. They also use Kiellands or high forceps here which many other countries don't. My birth plan said, I want an epidural ASAP. I would prefer a c section to forceps. Please give my baby a Vit K injection. Please clean my baby after birth. That's all. In the end I didn't need it as I had a low lying placenta and had a C section.

DoMyBest Sun 21-Sep-14 21:59:19

Oh good lord your second post came after i'd typed mine: you really have to insist if you want an epidural? (feeling nauseous): why? Is it because they're understaffed in anaesthetists (see, stress is affecting my spelling!) or because they're morally opposed (women should have to break the pain barrier without pain-relief?!).
I'm british, but gave gave birth the last 2 times in Europe. Will have to get my head round the idea of not seeing a dr at all, especially as mine saved my first child's life. Christ, no drugs, no dr and - according to some mums - possibility of giving birth in a corridor. If all this is try its way worse than some of the poorest balkan countries. How could I not have known?!!
Sorry, must breath, thank you.

Kewrious Sun 21-Sep-14 22:05:00

It will be fine. See DH is a medic so that helped. But I had excellent care throughout. Excellent. C&W is busy but v good. You might have to be a bit persistent and the receptionists can be a bit up their posterior but on the whole I found it thoroughly professional. If you have a husband/other half who will be your birthing partner, then they might need to be a bit assertive ie I think she needs an epidural NOW. But the doctors and midwives are enormously experienced and well trained. Yes there are horror stories but remember ppl like me who have routine deliveries and go off satisfied don't tend to post on online forums.

DoMyBest Sun 21-Sep-14 22:08:33

Right, must put things in perspective: a girl in my husband's class at school was so scared of telling her parents she was pregnant that she hid it thougout her pregnancy then boarded a last train to give birth on it (baby's fine). She was 15 and it was her first. This is my third and, fast fwd 2 decades, we have mobile phones & internet: Breached birth & no dr or drugs? I'll just take a few large swigs of whisky & google it.

Kewrious Sun 21-Sep-14 22:23:40

If the baby is breech they will offer you a C section. I was skeptical of the system too but it was fine. Deeeeeep breaaaaathhhhhhhhhhh.

DoMyBest Sun 21-Sep-14 22:34:15

Thank you! One last qn: are you given a bed before the baby is literally popping out, or are you expected to wait in the a&e waiting room until you're 9cm dilated?

TooSpotty Sun 21-Sep-14 22:41:39

This is all a bit hysterical! Midwives handle low risk routine antenatal care and deliveries. They also lead during labour as long as there is nothing requiring a doctor's involvement. Many women are quite happy with this. If any comes up during pregnancy, you will be seen by specialist doctors, ditto birth. High risk pregnancies are consultant-led, so you see doctors throughout your pregnancy. Obstetricians and paediatricians are on call on every labour ward. It is very unlucky to not have your own room on a labour ward although overcrowding very occasionally happens. The chances are overwhelmingly that you will not encounter that. Many women on here have positive stories of getting epidurals when they want them and many other women felt perfectly happy with other pain relief methods which are freely available. So you will be fine.

DoMyBest Sun 21-Sep-14 22:44:26

Thanks TooSpotty. Good to hear.

PassTheCremeEggs Sun 21-Sep-14 23:03:46

No one is expected to wait in a&e! Why would you even be in a&e?! Like PP said - this is a bit hysterical. Having a baby on the NHS is hardly dark age stuff. If you're in established labour you'll get your own room on the labour ward unless they're unusually busy. If you've gone into labour and it's going quickly, don't go to A&E go to the labour ward!

Midwives sometimes resist epidurals because of their tendency to slow things down and increase chances of intervention. But if you want one and the anaesthetist is free you'll get one. Ask early and don't wait until the last minute.

AnotherStitchInTime Sun 21-Sep-14 23:12:55

I live in Fulham, have no car and had my last two at QCCH (2.5 years and 9 months ago) and my first at C&W. I had a bad experience at C&W, but QCCH are fab. I had attempted vaginal birth followed by EMCS for dd2 and ELCS with major complications for ds (they saved my life). If you are having a CS for breech either one would do. If uncomplicated pregnancy then I hear the midwife led unit at QCCH is great, but you need labour ward for an epidural anyway. The staff on labour ward at QCCH are excellent especially for higher risk pregnancies.

DoMyBest Mon 22-Sep-14 09:53:28

Thanks AnotherStitchInTime. I think, based on my medical history, I'll take the cowards way out and let my gp decide on queen charlotte's or chelsea and westminster.
PassTheCreamEggs (great nane btw), after some of the giving birth in the corridor scare stories I'd read about C&W, having my iwn room to give birth sounds super luxurious. Thanks all.

puddock Mon 22-Sep-14 10:10:26

Just to say I had a fantastic (first) birth at QCC, in the midwife-led unit. No car either, I went there in a taxi and we came home on the tube smile

DoMyBest Mon 22-Sep-14 14:15:24

No! You came home in the tube! That's hilarious, thank you puddock.

smogsville Tue 23-Sep-14 15:27:51

Had DD at C&W in 2011. Antenatal care fine, ELCS for medical reasons fine, recovery ward fine. Postnatal understaffed, too busy, too loud and bloody stressful and couldn't wait to get the hell out! For a busy London hospital I think they do the best they can.

AuntieStella Tue 23-Sep-14 15:32:51

Think about your journey to the hospital and the parking. Including, if your due date falls in the footie season, what the traffic is like when there's a home match at Stamford Bridge.

There really isn't that much to choose between the big London hospitals, so you may as well plump for the convenient one.

Maki79 Wed 24-Sep-14 20:53:09

Take a cab to QCH. Fulham is not far from Hammersmith, we travelled from Peckham!! I had my daughter there in the birthing centre. I had my son in the newest birthing centre in the country - Gloucester and it was not a patch on QCH! You won't be able to have an epidural there but for the surroundings and the care, my God it's worth it!
Things like they let my dh stay over with me in our own room with a double bed. They made us tea and toast after the delivery, they raised a glass of champers with us. They gave us menu's to order food that evening. The breastfeeding midwife was super and so reassuring. I will never forget it - the best experience of my life smile

DoMyBest Sat 08-Nov-14 08:18:23

All, some feedback on the amazing nhs service I've recieved so far (we opted for queen charlotte's) since my initial, nervous, post:

First, I was referred to my initial midwife appointment in a little children's centre/clinic in hammersmith, surrounded by flowers, where I was greeted by a relaxed, smiling receptionist. Lovely midwife called Karen took 1.5 hours (yes, 1.5 hours) to go through my medical history and assess my needs. So friendly and caring.

Next I went to Queen Charlottes for a blood test only to realise there were about 20 people in the queue before me. As I'd arrived at 1, and had to leave at 3 to pick up my children from school, I timidly asked a nurse if my having allowed 2 hours to queue for the test was realistic. 'Ah, bless' she replied. 'If they haven't done it in an hour come back to me and I'll do it myself'. I've subsequently discovered she's the head nurse and an incredibly devoted and caring about her patients. Another nurse, who took my blood within the hour (time for me to have lunch at Costa coffee which is conveniently on the same floor), was delightful and we chatted about schools, her boys etc.

Third, I returned to QCH yesterday for my first scan: no sooner had I arrived than I was seen. They were all friendly and answered all our tedious questions despite my having forgotten to bring any of my paperwork.

I have yet to deal with a single nhs staff member who didn't smile or immediately address my concerns about my pregnancy. And what a smart, clean, impressive hospital Queen Charlotte's is!

Thanks mumsnetters for all your feedback & advice and, more important, a HUGE well-done to the NHS.

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