Lewisham hospital or St Thomas'(16 Posts)
At the end of my first trimester and I'm torn between Lewisham and St Thomas for giving birth. Lewisham is much closer to my home but don't know much about their birth unit.
It's complicated by the fact I am hoping to request an ELCS so would be particularly keen to hear from anyone that has experience of this at either hospital. So far I'm booked under Lewisham for my scans but aware that if I want to change to STH then I will probably need to do that in the next 2 months.
I've had two births at Lewisham - 1 EMCS and 1 ELCS. I had no trouble at all requesting the elective, but I did have a complicated pregnancy and a previous section. However, before my complications were known, the midwife said that they're pretty open to ELCS requests, so hopefully you wouldn't have any problems there. Ive always been completely happy with ante natal care and care during the birth. Postnatal ward isn't great, but from what I've heard, postnatal isn't great at St Thomas' either, or indeed anywhere. Not dangerous or anythng, just too few staff.
Any other questions,please ask. Both my births were within the last three years with one nearly 4 months ago,so my experiences are recent.
I've delivered 3 times st the birthing centre at Lewisham, and I think it is great. I've been very happy with my antenatal care there. Postnatally, I've only been to the labour floor for surgery to repair a third degree tear, all done very well with good follow up. The postnatal ward isn't great, but if you manage a private room, they are free, and I think all postnatal wards are less Tha brilliant - I have nct friends who delivered at st Thomas, and they both moved to Lewisham for their second baby...
Thanks ladies! Really appreciate your views! I might look at getting a visit booked into the birthing centre for an look around. I'm basically terrified of any type of forceps delivery resulting in bladder/bowel complications as I feel it would have a massive impact on my quality of life, so that's my main fear with vaginal birth. Conversely though I worry about the baby having any breathing issues by not being pushed out. It's just so hard to know what to believe as there's so often an agenda behind the information. It's ridiculous but I'm either hoping for the dream birth in a pool with gravity on my side (but hopefully with Drs very nearby) or planned C section. Legs in stirrups is my worst nightmare. it's my first so excuse me if I sound crazy!
I delivered at Lewisham 2 years ago. Back then, it was pretty abysmal, both antenatally and postnatally. It's apparently improved the postnatal ward since then. No experience of section or birth centre, sorry, but I had forceps, and can't recommend!
St Thomas' (had treatment there after birth for a related, but tangential issue) was ace. Not the labour ward, admittedly, but like a different universe.
Is there a reason Why King's isn't on your list? Logistics or something?
I can't sing their praises highly enough and have in fact stayed living in the area in part because I wouldn't want to have my second baby anywhere else (8 weeks to go). They've apparently just opened a brand new Foetal Medicine Research Unit where all the antenatal appointments are now taking place, though I don't think the labour ward is moving yet.
Kings is difficult to get to from lewisham.
I had both mine at lewisham 8 and 10 years ago.
Ante natal care was spot on. Clinics ran to time, scanners state of the art. Midwives lovely, same ones in the gp surgery and hospital.
First birth- i did kind of get the, "oh youre not in labour youre only 1cm" attitude for the first few seconds, but once they hooked me up to a monitor and realised there was a problem they were fab, and moved so quickly, and saved my baby's life by doing so.
Post natal the ward is just so busy. Its 4 m/w to 36 beds i think. Budget issues, so i cant really blame them for not being able to deal with the trivial stuff. I got on with things myself snd was fine.
2nd birth was an elcs. Again fab. They have a vbac clinic its well worth asking if theyll refer you to, very up to date m/w who walk you through all the pros and cons, and allow you to make your own mind up.
One word about st thomas,- my first birth i was referred to their m/w after discharge, as my house is technically in their area (my gp isnt, which is why i ended up at Lewisham). They are also understaffed, and its a long way for them to travel. They ended up cancelling my last visit and asked me to see the gp instead.
When i did my research, tommy's consultant was very anti- section (there was a baby died as she refused an elcs despite medical need). Might be different now, of course.
Kings isn't on the list as its a bit awkward to get to from our home. Lewisham is definitely the easiest journey, but I've been tempted by Tommy's as I work there and have faith in the hospital overall given its such a large teaching hospital. Admittedly I have also heard a couple of sketchy reports on the postnatal care there but that seems to be standard for London unfortunately...
DSis just gave birth at St Thomas and she had an awful experience. She asked for gas and air, they refused and gave her paracetamol. Then injected her with diamorphine (as they didn't want to give her an epidural). Eventually relented with epidural, but was administered by an incompetent student doctor who couldn't get the needle in. Long third stage of labour too. She wasn't impressed.
I gave birth in Lewisham 11 weeks ago- I SO wanted to be in the beautiful birth centre there (I had a tour and it's honestly lovely, like a hotel!), but had to be induced. However the antenatal ward was fine, looked a bit run down but the staff were amazing, delivery suite was good and the staff were also great, postnatal ward predictably shite and you just have to sort yourself out most of the time cos they're sooo understaffed, it's pretty depressing tbh. Oh and the food is rank!
Oh and I had a good experience at all my antenatal appointments too!
Aha. I just can't get my head around St Thomas's being easier to get to from Lewisham, but I don't have a car so think about everything in terms of bus routes and train lines! They do do a very good prenatal yoga class there though, if you're working there anyway.
Had first baby at Lewisham 2 years ago - hoped to use the birth centre but ended up with EMCS as she was breech. Can't fault the pre-natal care, midwife appointments etc and the surgery team were all great. I didn't like the post-natal ward at all, although the staff were great, though that may have had more to do with the physical helplessness post-section and the fact that I just wanted to go home with my baby & not stay in hospital.
Number 2 is due in April and the plan is for a VBAC, no pressure from either consultants or midwives to choose that over ELCS, although I think it's generally recommended as the preferred option. Can't use the birth centre because of the need for continuous monitoring but that's life . SIL & DP's cousin's wife also gave birth at Lewisham last year, one in the birth centre and one on the labour ward, no complaints or problems
I had first baby at King's and having number two with St thomas. When I booked with St thomas I got a letter with the welcome stuff saying they won't accommodate elcs for non medical reasons... Which I thought was daft. Not sure how Kings would be but I had to fight really hard to decline induction and book elcs. (natural labour in the End). I have heard good things about Lewisham but after contemplating transferring there in first pregnancy I decided against it as I found the consultants even more dismissive of my requests and less willing to engage in why. And the birth centre had really strict criteria though that may have relaxed now it is more established. So far, while the elcs thing might put you off, I've been really impressed with St thomas
I was very happy with Lewisham would choose it again.
Cannot praise Lewisham highly enough, or respectfully disagree more with PP whose experience of giving birth there two years ago couldn't be further from mine (dd turned two last month). Fab care and a wonderful hospital.
The same cannot be said of St Thomas' who treated my delayed miscarriage so poorly that I still find it difficult to believe what I went through there. The only silver lining was that I transferred all care to Lewisham for mmc treatment, subsequent pregnancy, and now at 29 weeks pregnant with dc2 I'm more than happy to be there again.
Good luck OP
I'm 33 weeks and booked for St Thomas and the only thing I have been able to fault is the snotty community midwife (who knowing I've had a previous miscarriage even if it was 10 years ago) found bumps heartbeat at 16 weeks and said "still in there"! Me and DH were fuming so I phoned and made a complaint and they sorted it immediately and even followed up more than once to check I was ok. They have also been great with my physio as I've been in tremendous pain. I can't obviously comment on the birth side yet but we were told as it is a teaching hospital we would get a midwife and a student midwife which I felt quite reassured by.
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