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DUMB QUESTION ALERT - private/NHS birthing options

(10 Posts)
kitty1kat Fri 12-Sep-08 22:53:16

Hi - apologies for the dumb questions, but I have only just moved here from Australia and have a few questions about how it all works.

I had a c-section for my first birth and will need one for my second. I had a wonderful ob who was an amazing surgeon and I have a tiny scar and an amazing recovery. In Australia priavte health insurance (which is a lot cheaper) covers all your pre/ante/birth etc with your choice of ob and hospital, which I am rapidly finding out doesn't happen in the UK! I am planning on having my baby via the NHS, but have a few questions. OK, a lot, but can't seem to find the answers anywhere! Anyone with some patience to answer would be hugely appreciated.

Am I able to pick my hospital? I have done my reading in this forum, and it seems I can if I live within a certain catchment? I am only ten mins or so away from Queen Charlotte's.

Am I able to pick my ob if I know I am having a caeser? (assuming they are available of course) Or do I have to take whoever I am given? I don't really mind about bedside manner etc, but I do care desparately about having a good surgeon.

Do you usually get the same person looking after you prenatally?

Are you able to have your birth on the NHS and then pay to stay in a private room or on a private ward postnatally? I had immense problems with feeding last time and would love as much help as possible, plus obviously staying in hospital for a while, a private room would be ideal.

And finally - would it be weird to join an NCT class on your second? Does anyone do it? Just would like to meet some other mothers due around the same time.

Many thanks to anyone who can be bothered with my questions!

hester Fri 12-Sep-08 23:06:07

Hello again, kittykat! I have had a CS at Charlotte's, and I work in the NHS, so here's my advice:

- Queen Charlotte's is a really good maternity hospital (well, by London standards, which isn't saying much admittedly!). They have a high CS rate; they know what they're doing; they are very popular and often overbooked so you should get booked in there as soon as you can.

- No, you can't pick your ob. You'd have to go private for that. Tbh, in the UK going private is not the route to good surgical care (not in maternity, anyway). Private care is about hotel facilities, and I know people who have had very poor surgical care in private hospitals. Charlotte's has a very good surgical record. Since you will be having an elective CS, there is every reason to think your surgeon will be fully up to the job.

- You will probably book in under the nominal care of a consultant, but most of your antenatal care will be provided by a team of midwives. Sadly, you will probably not get to see the same midwife throughout pregnancy. The only way to guarantee this is to go private (you can choose to pay for an obstetrician throughout, or for a private midwife)

- It is sometimes possible to pay for a private room, but it depends on availability. Charlotte's does have private rooms - you should ask them how likely it would be that you could have one. Alternatively you could contact St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, which has a large private wing (Lindo wing) - you could have your NHS CS and then request to go private for your postnatal stay, but it will be pricey.

- My NCT group was only first time mothers, but I don't see why it would be odd to have a second-timer there. It is, after all, a dating agency for pregnant women seeking friends - that's the main reason why most of us go!

Any other questions, fire away!

1dilemma Fri 12-Sep-08 23:24:26

OK FWIW here's my answers

you can sometimes choose, you have no absolute right to say I'll only go to X, you will likely be given a choice of ?3, it's likely Charlottes will be one of them but you could be 10 minutes away and not get it as a choice.

You can't pick your ob, as hester says you will see midwives prenatally (might see ob once if having elective section I don't know I've never had one might just see a registrar?)

You can have NHS section and pay for a postnatal private room, if there is one available might be worth posting on here to ask what you get for that, ie room at end of corridor everyone ignores or full-on private wing (or more likely omewhere inbetween)

NCT South of the river do classes for second/third time Mothers I have a friend who went but I think she found it less successful for meeting people

Good luck

hester Fri 12-Sep-08 23:28:13

kittykat, there's a very nice mother-and-baby group that meets in the crypt at St Barnabas Church, Addison Road, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sometimes there's a waiting list. Once baby's born, get yourself onto it - you'll meet lots of nice people there smile

kitty1kat Sun 14-Sep-08 11:35:25

thank you so much both for your help - things are becoming clearer now!

Private midwife sounds like it might be worth exploring - I would love to have consistant care. But then again, maybe postnatal care might be where its worth spending the (admittedly limited!) money.

One more question - do you need to pay for all your scans, blood tests, screenings etc?

IceCube Sun 14-Sep-08 12:54:36

NHS provides scans at 12 weeks and 20 weeeks and extra if needed.

Your midwife does all the bloods etc and NHS is pretty good at giving you regular midwive appointments with plenty of time to ask questions/talk about any issues you have.

I know everybody else has said you will see different midwives at each appointments but that hasn't been my experience. My GP surgery has a midwive from the local hospital attached to it, so I see her roughly every 4 weeks. You would need to go to your GP to find out what the situation is for you.

greenlawn Sun 14-Sep-08 16:22:15

Hello, just wanted to add a couple of points:

- if you've had a previous cs, then you would normally be booked to see a consultant at about 20 weeks - I was very lucky and had a lovely consultant first and second times, who did a great cs first time and then offered to do the same second time round! If I'd wanted to go down the cs route, it would've been booked in for him to do it on a set date. But I chose a vbac. I guess that means that its the luck of the draw with consultants, but if you see a good one initially chances are good he or she will do your elective next time round.

- I've seen the same community midwife through each pregnancy, other than for the odd occasion of holiday or sickness cover. Or you can see your GP instead, though I would prefer to see a midwife.

- at my hospital you can have your cs on the NHS then go into a private room for recovery. The snag is you can't pre-book the private room, so its first come first served. But if you get one you get your own midwife care.

- I didn't join the NCT, but my GP surgery puts together a list of women who gave birth at around the same time and invites you in for 3 or 4 sessions so you get to meet maybe 6 or 7 other mums in the same situation. This is about one month after you have the baby.

All the best.

1dilemma Mon 15-Sep-08 01:34:03

HI kitty yes I pay for all my own scans bloods etc (and for most other peoples so it feels wink it's called National Insurance/tax!!

There is no top up/co-payment/additional charge!
Agree with ice check out what your local GP surgery does here we have community midwives who work in a team you see one of the team for antenatal care and may or may not get them to deliver your baby, you also see them postnatally. However they only do the births for one hospital and home and only for this GP other GPs get something different

raines Mon 15-Sep-08 15:54:11

From London hospital's experience, you won't be able to choose who does your section - their schedules are done the week before so you don't know until on the day - and they may well change due to emergency/illness etc.

Private rooms are subject to availability once you have delivered. To give you an idea, Lindo Wing at St Mary's is £780 per night.

And at our NCT we had an american lady who was having her second, but like you, first time in the UK!

poppy34 Mon 15-Sep-08 18:08:03

re nct -we had 2 secondtimers in ours - was really nice as gave different perspective

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