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Private or Public Hosptial... or Homebirth

(16 Posts)
TXB Wed 22-Jul-09 18:08:44

I'm a first time mum-to-be and am hoping to get some advice. I live in London and expecting my first baby mid-December. I am Australian and only moved to the UK a couple of years ago so I do not fully understand the NHS way of doing things and unfortunately amongst other things, my mid-wife isn't very helpful on this topic either.

The question I have is to do with how & where to have the baby. With the swine flu going around and my baby due right in the midst of flu season, I'm afraid that the hospital I'm booked into (Royal London) will have heaps of flu patients in there. With the heating system in the hospital, it will provide a breeding ground for the virus so I am considering going either private or a homebirth to stay on the safe side.

If I opted for private, can I simply ring a hospital, go in and meet with them and pay to have my baby there or is there more to it? As for a homebirth, this is not my preferred method as I do suffer from seizures so if something were to go wrong, we might not have the help at hand to fix it. I would need to have an epidural to minimize the risk of having a seizure so I think that might rule out homebirth?

Also, does anyone know roughly how much it costs for private birth and a homebirth?

Any advice/information would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks

Picante Wed 22-Jul-09 18:09:57

You can't have an epidural at home.

A homebirth with NHS midwives is free.

Don't know anything about private hospitals.

Northernlurker Wed 22-Jul-09 18:16:28

The costs of a private birth will depend on whether you also have private ante-natal care, what sort of birth you have (c-section MUCH more expensive) and how long you stay in. You are talking thousands of pounds though and it's frankly daft to think that a private hospital will give you any special protection at all against flu. We are exepriencing a flu pandemic - it's everywhere and a private hospital is just as likely to have patients who have the virus as anywhere else. When you are in delivery you don't usually see any other patients anyway. Obviously there will be some with you on the ward but your risk of catching flu from them is no greater than when you are out shopping etc with your baby afterwards.

Your medical condition may well mean that you aen't an ideal candidate for a homebirth so I would just stick with the NHS and ask for a quick discharge and spend your money on a post natal doula to give you the support at home with feeding etc.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 22-Jul-09 18:17:10

Message withdrawn

heron22 Thu 23-Jul-09 08:09:06

hi TXB g'day, i am a fellow aussie living here in london. i've had 2 babie here and had both of them at portland hospital. that hospital is dedicated to women and children only. and they do not treat conditions like swine flu in that hospital.

if you want to go the private route ( i strongly recommend it because the NHS is so packed even at the best of times) the first step would be to contact a obgyn. if you go to the hospital website it has list of consultants. or you can go via what they call a midwife led service. this is a dedicated one to one midwife service. so you will get to know your midwife. she will be there to do all your ante natal care etc.
go to the hospital website. there is lots of info. and then go for a hospital tour. they are very helpful.

i can recommend a very good obgyn. a female one. she delivered both my babies.

as for the cost, average obgyn fee is about £5k, that is from 12 weeks to 6 weeks postnatally. the hospital charge is a max of £10k. (that is a c section and hospital stay of around a week). i have no experience of the vaginal birth there cos both mine were c sections.

any other questions please ask ! and good luck in your quest! how many weeks are you now?

TXB Thu 23-Jul-09 08:54:15

Many thanks for everyone's input - I really appreciate the information you have provided.

Heron22 - THANK YOU so much for yor response! As you can appreciate the system is very different to what we get in Aus so as a first time M2B, I have NO idea what's going on and I just feel lost in the NHS. I didn't know Portland Hospital was dedicated to women & children so that actually sounds very appealing to me.

My NHS midwife actually forgot to book me in with my antenatal doc so I am 19 weeks, have not seen antenatal or OB as yet. As I don't know the system or procedures for pregnancy, I didn't even know until I saw my GP last week and he told me this should have been done by now. He has said he is going to try and get me squeezed in but doesn't like my chances of seeing one before mid-late September (I'll be around 26-28weeks by then). That left me feeling extremely worried and even more confused. Elective C-Section was my preferred method of birth so I had hoped to be able to discuss this with an OB and see if it was going to be possible then if not, I could look at my other options.

We have now decided that going private would be the safe way to go especially as the NHS will be stretched over the December period (when I'm due). I will contact Portland Hospital today and organise to go in and see them. Would love the name of your OB - many thanks, you have bought me much relief! You can contact me direct if you like. ;-)

heron22 Thu 23-Jul-09 12:56:19

TXB i tried to contact you but mumsnet charges money to do so! unbelievable!

can you contact me?

heron22 Thu 23-Jul-09 12:58:14

you know i am not surprised that you have not even been seen by doc. the system is so jammed! you need blood tests etc. and of course the 20 week scan. if you want to have the 20 week scan (where they look very thoroughly at your baby)

TXB Thu 23-Jul-09 13:50:49

Hi Heron,
I just tried to contact you and it won't let me... I signed up for CAM in the hope that you would be able to contact me alas, not to be.

I have got a spare email address you can email me on and then I'll email you from my main email a/c.
The spare one is
Talk soon. ;-)

heron22 Thu 23-Jul-09 13:59:00

ok will email you

bellasmama Sat 25-Jul-09 10:55:45

Hi there, I had a great experience at the Portland as well (Heron and I always show up on these threads) I was with the midwives but had to transfer to a consultant, both were fantastic and would recommend both. The beauty of the MLD service unlike the NHS is that you still have full access to mobile epidurals and the back up of a consultant. Would also be happy to give you the name of mine and will e mail you if you like.

MaryHuff Wed 29-Jul-09 12:07:00

If you want an elective section you should go private. You can't get these on the NHS unless you or baby have an existing condition that justfies it.

AtheneNoctua Wed 29-Jul-09 12:23:41

You can indeed have an elective section on the NHS in London. Try Queen Charlotte. I don't understand the need to go private. Do private hospitals not allow sick people with swine flu or other contageous ailments through their doors?

I would think getting a private room in and NHS hospital would be the best way to avoid as many germs/viruses as possible.

If money is no object, then going privaet may be the best care. But I personally would not fork out £10k (or whatever it costs) for something I hae already paid for through my tax contributions.

globeoz Tue 11-Aug-09 16:16:51

We are lucky enough to have private medical which covers us for most of the costs. Portland fees are £7k then consultants on top of that. It will prob cost us £14K total and we are only covered for £10K so we will have to pay the rest. If you have a C-Section then it is more expensive and you will need to account for the extra days you will spend in hospital - up to 6 (3 to 4 for normal). This will really up your costs. Depending on whether you have lots of money to spend or a good insurance cover - I would go private. But if you don't then go on the NHS and book a private room, although you might have to shar bathrooms. You can also get some things done privately like scans, bloods and tests. The Birth Company is excellent. I am also Australian and if I didn't have private cover I would go on the NHS - minimal costs and you get discharged earlier than private. With Swine Flu I think that you would be more likely to pick it up travelling on public transport or being out in public than in a hospital and swine flu cases are generally treated in the home unless critical and in hospital it would be segregated from other wards. Hope this helps! Let me know if you want to email me direct if you have any other queries - the portland hospital website has a full list of their extensive fees.

TXB Thu 13-Aug-09 21:21:50

Thanks for that. We've been to the Portland & really liked it, met with a consultant as well. Basically we've decided to do the birth there but are still considering which OB (I'm meeting another 1 on Monday) and will decide from there.

I really appreciate everyone's input as I have been totally confused but now have peace of mind as we've made the decision and understand the UK system and some of the in's & out's a whole lot better.

Globeoz - thanks for the Birth Company - I'm also in correspondence with them too at the mo.

bellasmama Fri 14-Aug-09 11:22:30

Hi there, you have made a wise choice with the Portland I couldnt have had a better experience. Which consultants are you seeing? Always worth seeing if you get feedback on here

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