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North London Maternity Wards? Lucky me... Not

(56 Posts)
Roopachoo Tue 26-Oct-10 20:24:36

Ok so after the initial euphoria of seeing those faint pink test lines turn darker and darker, I am now petrified of having to take myself off down to one of two of possibly the worst maternity wards... ever. Yes, either Barnet or Chase Farm... sad

The next best option is The Royal Free, although it is a 40 min drive, and even here I haven't heard the best of stories. UCH or Guys and Tommys is just too far. What would you do in my situation? I've heard there has been a staff overhaul at RFH- has anyone given birth there this past year? Am I being a sissy and should just give birth in the shed?

BudapestMummy Tue 26-Oct-10 21:05:52

I gave birth at the Royal Free nearly 2 years ago and my experience of the hospital for the actual birth part was really good. I was lucky to have a quick birth but the midwives were lovely. However, I didn't have such a good experience of the post-natal ward. I gave birth at 9pm and was transferred at midnight to a ward with five other women and their newborns. The midwives were too busy to really help with establishing breastfeeding and no-one picked up on the fact that my daughter was severely tongue tied. I left at 11am the next morning so was in the hospital for less than 24 hours. All in all, I would recommend the Royal Free, but wouldn't stick around for any longer than I had to!

Haliborange Tue 26-Oct-10 21:07:43

What about the Whit? Definitely worth a look if it is an option.

MrsNoggin Tue 26-Oct-10 21:24:09

I would most defintely avoid Chase Farm. I had the most dreadful time there having DD. Seriously.

I did hear from a few people that Barnet wasn't too bad...

LargeGlassofRed Tue 26-Oct-10 21:26:20

Have you thought about home birth? having done both, I would recommend home vs hospital every time.

suwoo Tue 26-Oct-10 21:37:06

Just wanted to say that although I'm not in London (Manchester) we travelled about 40 mins to what I considered to be the 'best' hospital for baby no 1. Due to ishoos following her birth, I am still a patient there 9 years later, and they are fantastic. I had my two sons there too. So, keep in mind the 'bigger picture' of what other services they provide. HTH.

hoxtonchick Tue 26-Oct-10 21:38:46

how about the north middlesex? i have professional knowledge of their maternity services & was really impressed. my sil had her baby there 2.5 years ago very happily.

NigellaTufnel Tue 26-Oct-10 21:40:34

Avoid the Royal Free! post natal ward is bloody awful.

mrspickles Tue 26-Oct-10 21:42:16

Whereabouts in North London are you? Could you get to Watford or the QEII in welwyn garden city (straight up the A1?)

MegBusset Tue 26-Oct-10 21:44:44

Chase Farm and Barnet both have midwife-led units, are these an option for you? The Edgware MLU (attached to Barnet though at a different site) is very highly spoken of, and both mine were born at the Ridgeway (Chase Farm). Not a perfect hospital but midwives mostly great and would have no qualms about going back.

You will hear horror stories about every hospital in the country but the vast majority of women and babies will be absolutely fine wherever they are.

saucetastic Tue 26-Oct-10 21:45:40

Are you eligible for the Edgware Birth Centre - Would have loved to have gone there in 2008- unfortunately ds was breech so i became high risk, and ended up at RFree for CS. The CS itself was a good experience thanks to brilliant staff. Post natal ward and the 'support' was awful. Barnet's appt system is far superior to RF.

mrspickles Tue 26-Oct-10 21:57:24

Or another thought, get yourself a doula for support during the birth wherever you end up. Doesn't help so much with post-natal support while you're in hospital but fingers crossed you don't have to stay in long!

BagofHolly Tue 26-Oct-10 23:55:41

What about a nice private room at watford's Knutsford Wing?

YogaEmma Wed 27-Oct-10 08:22:21

I had my baby at chase Farm (15 months ago). Remember there's the birth centre on site (v nice, partner can stay etc) that you can book into as well and all being well you can have you baby their. My baby was late so I delivered on the labour ward. I had a great labour. No drugs, 12 hours, but only the final three in hospital - a lovely midwife called Rose and a student midwife. The midwife came to check on me the next morning. Once I'd delivered I stayed overnight in the birth centre as that's where i'd been booked in and it's nicer/quieter. I would recommend Chase Farm. It totally depends which midwife you get though on the day and what you're expecting. Be strong and confident. You can do this - the midwives are their to help you.

If you're near Winchmore Hill I'm starting up pregnancy yoga classes on Monday 1st November.

Roopachoo Wed 27-Oct-10 10:23:00

Thanks so much for your replies. We're in a flat so couldn't even start to think about a home birth... I'd be too worried about doing the washing etc

If I have an uncomplicated pregnancy (fx) than a birthing centre would be ideal. Even though I've heard the Edgware Birthing Centre is more of a spa retreat, I'm not comfortable with the fact that the nearest doctors to the unit are all the way in Barnet, who routinely close their maternity ward doors on average 3 x weekly.

The Ridgeway Centre is ideal in terms of distance but would hate to have to go into the Chase Farm Labour ward if problems did arise.

Private is just not an option for us. DH is retraining.

Just had a look at the Health Commission stats for Queen Elizabeth II in Welwyn and it does seem to fare better than RFH, whilst The Whitt has been marked "Least well performing". Has anyone given birth in Queen Elizabeth II?

MegBusset Wed 27-Oct-10 11:03:11

I was transferred to the labour ward at CF both times and it was fine. MWs work 12hr shifts there now (was 8hrs with DS1) so continuity of care much better. In fact my mw with DS2 usually works at Barnet, she was amazing.

MegBusset Wed 27-Oct-10 11:08:04

Interested to hear where your fear of CF comes from btw. I know many people (inc myself) who have given birth there more than once so wasn't bad enough to put us off a second time!

OmicronPersei8 Wed 27-Oct-10 11:08:05

You can have a home birth in a flat! Plenty do. Also I've heard the the RF has become a lot better recently (but no direct experience of it myself).

Loujalou Wed 27-Oct-10 11:43:09

I had an awful experience in Chase Farm but actually I would go back. There were some really good parts of my stay and my last mw was beyond fantastic. One of my friends had a really bad experience first time at CF and fab the second.

I am going to QEII this time(if I get that far) but only because its my closest hospital. I was supposed to go there last time but premmie baby and I was closest to CF. I have heard lots of bad things about most hospitals and think its pot luck who you get on the day.

I would personally go with the hospital nearest to you as you don't want to be travelling too far in rush hour if you go into labour then. I would book into the Ridgeway just in case you can give birth there. I am almost tempted to go back to CF to give it a go.

Roopachoo Wed 27-Oct-10 13:47:09

Oh really Loujalou you'd go back to CF? I guess it can be pot luck on the day. 12hr MW shifts great for continuity but my what a stretch!

MegBusset- I've just heard so many horror stories about CF as a whole including personal family experiences, admittedly not from the labour ward. It is rated as "least well performing" also. What ever that means.

OmicronPersei8- can I ask where you heard that RF was improving? Any recent mums who have given birth there? Worried about making a longer trip to a hospital that will probably be much busier than the ones further out.

My friend is at Barnet for her antenatal care and they habitually forget to do routine things like take blood pressure, overworked detached MWs, and she was responsible for reminding them to give her rhesus injections. And that's all before the lack of beds issue.

So, so far CF is not looking so bad from your replies... but am worried about the stats confused

Haliborange Wed 27-Oct-10 13:52:14

Don't worry about the stats. They are 2 years old (no?), most London hospitals come out badly (if "fair" is the best you can say, that doesn't say much). I seem to recall QC doing badly and most women seem to like that place (I hated it, but it was not stat related!).
The Whit is my local and is very much the hospital of choice here if you plan a vaginal delivery, especially since the new birth centre opened. It has made a massive difference (more beds, better surroundings).

mslucy Wed 27-Oct-10 13:56:57

The Whit is ace grin
Staff are lovely - they remembered me from DS1 when I was having DS2 last year despite a gap of more than 3 years.

Walking distance for me - I am lucky - but I know women who have travelled from all over North London to have their babies there.

Loujalou Wed 27-Oct-10 13:57:36

As I said I have heard bad things about a lot of hospitals. My friend at QEII had a breach baby and they induced her without realising this important fact. So she needed an emergency c section. Also, heard of a lot of emergency c sections at QEII.

Roopachoo Wed 27-Oct-10 13:59:30

oh wow Haliborange- nice rooms! (I'm so fickle)

So if you have any probs you'd be transferred to the labour ward right?

Do you know anyone who's been there recently? Anyone else delivered at The Whit?

OmicronPersei8 Wed 27-Oct-10 14:23:00

That birth centre (at the Whittingdon) looks lovely.

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