Southmead, Bristol?

(19 Posts)
QTPie Wed 05-Aug-09 22:30:35

Am currently looking at the options open to me (I am 14 weeks pregnant). We live in Bath and so the obvious choice would be the RUH (mid-wife led delivery), but am currently considering a private Obstetrician who would deliver at Southmead (Bristol) instead.

Does anyone have any experience of Southmead (ideally a comparison of Southmead and RUH, but I think that would be asking too much ;) )? Are there any private rooms available?


oysterpots Thu 06-Aug-09 10:18:27

Bumping for you, I had my DS in St Michael's in Bristol but have heard good things about Southmead too. Would consider having any DC2 there myself!

Think I heard from someone that the after care at Southmead is really good...

No idea about Bath though, I'm afraid. This site might help you though, you can view statistics by hospital.

QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 11:07:05

Thanks for the bump

Thanks for the link, although I don't find that site very meaningful really (have looked at it a number of times before) - if that makes sense. A lot of the statistics are out of date (or not filled in) and I find it difficult to understand what the hospitals are really like to give birth in...

Infact, there seems to be VERY little information about maternity units on any websites (like the hospital's themselves...)


Peabody Thu 06-Aug-09 11:21:33

I know about Southmead.

There are two sections, Delivery Suite and Birth Suite. Delivery Suite is your standard, consultant-led unit. Once labour is established you get a private room; a couple of the rooms have baths, but none have ensuite facilities.

Birth Suite is a midwife-led unit that can be booked in advance if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. Again, there are private rooms, and each room has a bath and ensuite. No epidurals are available in this unit, but you can get Pethidine.

Speaking from personal experience, the Birth Suite is great, the Delivery Suite is not good (I got a very old-fashioned midwife with rigid ideas), and the aftercare is absolutely terrible. I spent a week on the post-natal ward and it was truly dreadful.

oysterpots Thu 06-Aug-09 11:44:53

Ignore me, listen to Peabody!

QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 12:13:39


That doesn't sound great... I definitely want epidural as an option (at least), so that would mean the Delivery Suite.

Why is maternity care (and aftercare) SOOOOO bad? Does the NHS think that birth should be as horrific as possible, so we can all claim a badge of honour? It really shouldn't be that way - especially in this day and age...

So depressing. I am actually beginning to consider going private in London (which would be fun from Bath!). I am struggling to find a private Obstetrician in Bristol: so far one will give private ante-natal treatment, but cannot guarantee being there for the birth (to me him being there at the birth is the important part...).

I don't know, I just guess I am scared. I have been VERY healthy all my life (never admitted to hospital) and have had BUPA cover all my life too. BUPA is obviously useless for childbirth, but I would like some options... There seem to be none (that include delivery) outside of London.


QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 12:17:07

I don't know, Oysterpots, you sounded less depressing ;-)

I hope that my last post didn't come over too badly: I am scared and what I am reading about NHS hospitals/care is scaring the ... out of me :-(.

I know that one option is to "try to ignore it all and then get on and deal with the whole nasty thing when it happens" (afterall the most important thing out of this is a healthy baby...), but I am such a practical person and want to exhaust all other options first...

(Plus I only managed 4 hours sleep last night... so am not in the best frame of mind :-( )


traceybath Thu 06-Aug-09 12:25:09

Well i had an elective c-section at RUH 2 weeks ago today.

The actual surgical care was fantastic but the post-natal ward/care was rubbish.

Only one functioning shower and a midwife who basically insisted i went home 24 hours after my c-section which for many reasons i felt was too early.

You could consider doing RUH for the birth and then going to Greenways in Chippenham for some post-birth recouperation.

oysterpots Thu 06-Aug-09 12:31:13

Do you have any reason to be scared, QT? I mean other than the normal scared of giving birth thing? wink

Any particular issues or problems? Maybe it would help if I gave you my story?

I was like you, had never been to hospital in my life. My pregnancy was a little problematic as I have a large fibroid so I was advised to have DS in hospital.

I found the staff at St Michael's in the delivery suite to be really wonderful - professional, kind, supportive - despite how busy they obviously were. The birth all went smoothly, DS was born without any problems, we spent his first night in a private room rather than on the ward (I had requested this in my birth plan should one be available).

However, when the doctor checked him over before (I thought) they were going to discharge us, they heard something on his chest which turned out to be pneumonia. DS was put on a 5 day course of antibiotics which meant we had to stay in hospital, DS had to go down to special care every 12 hours for antibiotics - 2pm and 2am, which was really quite horrible!

Although we were still in the private room, it wasn't a nice experience and one that still upsets me to think about. However, I'm not sure how my experience would have been different had I been in a different hospital and/or under private care. Maybe slightly, but I think the point I'm trying to make is that all healthcare pros are there to get you through it quickly and well.

What are your local midwives like?

oysterpots Thu 06-Aug-09 12:32:28

Oh, also meant to say, would you consider a home birth? That way you have 2 midwives on call there with you for the whole time, and would be at home for after care.

I would if I could - curse my fibroid angry

QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 13:06:54

Traceybath, I hope that you are feeling a LOT better and that your baby is doing fantastically. Discharged 24 hours after a caesarean, you must be joking?! That is ridiculous... you poor thing

Oysterpots, your deliuvery sounds traumatic - in different ways - too.

No particular worries really... I am older (35) and have probably been spoilt for far too many years (good health and being looked after well). I know that I can get through anything, but I would just rather not have to. I think that giving birth will be difficult enough (no matter how it goes) without worrying about the quality of medical care or being put on a busy, dirty ward with disgusting toilets/showers afterwards (I know, small in the scheme of things, but as I said... "spoilt" ).

Really I want: very good medical care (preferably an obstetrician... I know, not very hollistic of me), continuity of care (so I can have some trust), husband around me as much as possible before/during/after the birth (I know that the NHS severely restricts visitors after visiting hours) and then somewhere clean and quiet that I can recover for a few days afterwards.

The Midwife (well I have only met one so far) is lovely, but a bit of a scatter brain. In fact I see her again in about 30 minutes. I am fine with her pre-natal, but I would really like an Obstetrician for delivery (even if I had a MW delivery, it could be any one of a number of them...). That probably makes me sound like a complete nut

I can get through anything (all of us can), but I don't want to "have to" go through rotten maternity care (I am stamping my little foot at the moment).

If that makes some sense.

QTPie Thu 06-Aug-09 13:09:27

No, no home birth... I am just too much of a "belt and braces" person (hence the desire to have theo ption of an epidural and the strong wish for an obstetrician...).


loulou77 Fri 07-Aug-09 22:37:53

Hi, don't post often but had both DCs at Southmead. Both in delivery suite.

With DD I got a great midwife (usually worked on the birth suite) and even though they were busy she was fab. DH stayed with me after when I had MROP but he did have to say good-bye to me on post-natal ward at 3am! And it used to be partners only from 10am (gives the MWs time to check out stitches, bleeding, leaky boobs etc. before eveyone's family turns up). After care (2 days because of spinal) was fine...although again they were busy. They did take DD off me (with my permission!)at 1am the second night when she was sick, cleaned her up, remade her bed, swaddled her and got her to sleep so I could get at least a few hours rest...and I revised my opinion of the only "hard faced" MW then, I could have wept with gratitude for those few hours!

DS was born at 30weeks, waters went at 28 weeks, had bleed at 20 weeks, so spent a lot of time on ante-natal ward and then had 5 days (could have had about 10 I think cos DS was in NICU but I wanted to see DD) after EMCS. Again, I was aware the staff were busy (I think understaffing is an issue across NHS trusts?) but I couldn't fault the care we got...and because my baby was in NICU they gave me a room to myself because they thought it might be too upsetting to share.

Showers etc were fine as I remember (I mean, they are not the Bellagio, but they were clean).

Had obstetricians both times (although only for post-natal with DD) and they all seemed good (although I was a bit shirty with the guy who did the internal before the MROP!!!)

QTPie Fri 07-Aug-09 23:01:24

Thanks loulou, sounds like you thoroughly checked Southmead out. Hope that both of your are doing very well now.

You sounded pretty well cared for

Too late for me now - have decided to go to London (assuming everything goes to plan - will keep the RUH as my "emergency" if, for some reason, I can't make it to London).

Now a hospital with rooms and bathrooms (and maybe a Noodle Bar) like the Bellagio... that WOULD be good. ;)


Ladyem Tue 11-Aug-09 04:38:57

I had DD in Southmead in 2007 and I cannot praise the staff enough. I went in the delivery suite and it was both clean and well equipped. It also had a very large bath in it which was bliss afterwards and I think I soaked for over an hour!!

The maternity ward was also very clean and the staff very helpful. All my friends in ante natal classes and who lived around Bristol also had good experiences at Southmead. (probably know about 10 women who've given birth there in the last 4 years, and 4 this summer!!)

Remember, people are much more likely to share bad experiences than positive ones. I'm pregnant again and I'd have this child there in a heartbeat, but have now moved to the midlands, so not possible!

saggyhairyarse Tue 11-Aug-09 11:42:58

I had my DS at Southmead in 2001 and two subsequent homebirths which says it all really.

QTPie Tue 11-Aug-09 12:02:34

I guess that it is mixed - some people have had great experiences, others "not so". A bit like anything, really (good and bad experiences).


ActionCat Tue 11-Aug-09 16:54:31

For anyone else considering Southmead and other hospitals in Bristol, I have been told at my ante-natal classes that favour swings between St Michael's and Southmead every few years and currently Southmead is in favour...which means it is very busy! Apparantly there is a baby boom in Bristol at the moment with an estimated 7000 babies being born in Southmead Hospital alone this year!

I was also told that the birth pool in Southmead is in constant use - they usually get 2 people using it each day. However, the one in St Michael's is rarely used so if you want a water birth, St Michael's would be the best choice.

I have to admit that I haven't been impressed with Southmead ante-natal care so far as they are just so busy and a scan and consultant appointment can take all afternoon. And my consultant seems to be very pro-intervention and has been extremely unsupportive of my decision to have a homebirth.

But like some of the others have said I have heard both good and bad stories about both hospitals.

crumpetsolo Mon 07-Dec-09 20:13:34

Sorry, but I am a little confused by this post. Are you really going to go all the way to London to give birth? We had our baby away from home - he came early, it wasn't by design - and there's alot to be said for being near home. When are you going to go to London? A week before your due date? When you start having contractions? You can't wait until after your waters have broken - driving for two hours would be madness. I'd rather have my baby at the RUH than on the M4.

Everyone I know from my antenatal groups who had their babies at either St Mikes or Southmead was very happy with the care they received.

I don't see what the issue with having an Obstetrician present is - if it's a straightforward birth there's no need, and if your birth is not straightforward, you would have consultant care at St Mikes/Southmead anyway. To be honest, I was so focussed on the birth, I could have been anywhere. And Bellagio bathrooms? You're having a baby, not going on a mini break.

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