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Any recent experiences of the Royal Free Hospital labour ward?

(4 Posts)
mollym14 Thu 13-Nov-14 08:43:06

Hi there
Just got my first ever BFP this week and am very excited and terrified! There are several topics about maternity services in the Royal Free Hospital from a few years back, with most of the experiences being truly dire- particularly for the labour ward. UCLH is another option for where I live, but then the recent reviews on the NHS Choices website aren't great either! The Royal Free would be very handy in terms of distance but I am worried about under-staffing etc. I'd be very grateful to hear about any recent experiences from the Royal Free (or UCLH) to help us make up our minds. Thanks so much for your help smile

DougalTheCheshireCat Sat 15-Nov-14 23:24:28

I delivered at the Royal Free last year.

Easy to get to, same parking zone for us and I had most of my anti natal appointments with the same community midwife at my gps surgery. Very convenient. This same midwife also visited me several times during the post natal period which was nice.

Birth centre and labour ward are on opposite side of the same corridor. I was in the birth centre but did have some interventions, they came to me, I didn't have to move anywhere.

Negatives (for me):
Only one birth pool. I knew this but wasn't sure how much it mattered. For me, in the end it mattered a lot. I really wanted to be in the pool, unfortunately someone else was using it. I really feel this made a big difference. I did the tour at the RF, their line on the one pool thing was that they have big baths in every room anyway. But the baths there weren't deep enough to submerge me in warm water (to keep me warm) in the position I wanted to be in. Also they don't let you deliver in the bathroom.

UCLH I didn't choose it because it is difficult to get to and is so so busy. People have said to me since I might have got a better outcome there. I'm skeptical though, I had a long birth with some interventions at the end, I think this is more to do with bad luck (birth pool busy, midwife I didn't click with) and NHS protocols (eg once you've been pushing a certain time they want to intervene), and my choice (E.g I accepted the intervention of the induction drip, late in my labour which probably made things worse not better). A friend at UCH was encouraged in a similar situation to have similar interventions, she declined them and got the natural birth she wanted, but due to having a v experience doula friend advising her over the phone, not due to hospital differences.

Possibly if a pool had been free at UCH things might have gone better.

I wish I'd looked at the Whittington, has much improved recently with a revamped birth centre, birth pool in (nearly) every room. Offers as standards things I was hoping for like a natural third stage.

For me, what would have made a difference is a guaranteed birth pool and a midwife that already knew and understood me. But you don't get either if those on the NHS in London, anywhere!

DougalTheCheshireCat Sat 15-Nov-14 23:32:32

Also, I delivered vaginally in the end, with some ventouse assistance. I had a very long pushing phase (about 10 hours) though the baby was happy throughout. RF held back as much as they could, and, I think, respected decisions I made (I requested the ventouse, and insisted on that not forceps) they made it work. Likewise that i declined an epidural for the ventouse.

My impression is UCH seems to go for the caesarian sooner, though some obstetricians feel that deliver is better for the baby than assisted vaginal delivery.

As I feel all the interventions I had were unnecessary, have a c sec would have royally pissed me off.

Bellerina2 Sun 16-Nov-14 09:11:31

Would you consider the Whittington? I gave birth in the birth centre there and can't fault the care I received before, during and after the birth. They have a free maternity acupuncture service too which is great.

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