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UCH, London - views on ante-natal care/childbirth/C-se
I will be having my 12 week scan this month and would be very grateful for views - good and bad! - of the ante-natal, childbirth and C-section services at UCH, London.
Ante-natal has been fab. V detailed scans, results quickly, apts on time, 32-wk scan as standard, midwife check-ups at local children's centre, so v convenient. All the community mws I've encountered have been lovely and am currently booked in for homebirth. Even the ante-natal and breast feeding classes they ran were very good.
UCH is a first rate hospital and I think their maternity services are fantastic. I had DD there last year and there is nowhere else I would have my future DC. My pregnancy was very high-risk and consultant-led, and we had a long stay in neonatal afterwards. UCH excels in these cases. However friends who have had low-risk, midwife-led care have also been very pleased.
I love UCH. I had DS1 there and again under their care for DS2 (currently 29w).
Ante-natal: The scans are very detailed (from what I can tell when compared to other NHS scans that I've read about on this forum) and I've only ever had friendly sonographers who were very happy to point things out and explain everything while still obviously also doing their job of checking things and getting all the measurements. If you get the nuchal test done at your 12w scan they also take blood and you will get the results while you wait (both times it's been about an hour wait for me). They also discuss all the results with you. They do 3 scans as standard (12w, 20w and 32w). The third one is a growth scan which has recently been introduced as standard for anyone having scans at UCH, it is not NHS-wide as far as I know.
Childbirth: I had DS in 2011 on the labour ward. I had to be induced due to obstetric cholestasis. It was a long way from the labour I wanted. I had booked for a home birth and failing that I would've wanted to use the birthing centre, but unfortunately due to my condition I didn't get a choice and had to be on labour ward. I was worried about having a very 'medicalised' birth experience on labour ward, but it wasn't like that at all. They had to do some monitoring but the midwives I had (Sarah and Natasha) were very respectful of what was in my birth plan (even though it was all based with a home birth in mind, they still took into account whatever they could) and I didn't have to be on the bed if I hadn't wanted to (I wanted an active birth but in the event I was so overwhelmed by the pain I never made it off the bed! - but Natasha was very helpful in trying to get me in the best position possible on the bed).
The only part where I felt uncomfortable/not in control was when the doctor/consultant came to break my waters. The midwives were all very calm and took time to explain things, but the consultant just kind of waltzed in and went 'we're going to break your waters now', not really taking time to talk through the why and how. That was quickly rectified though by DH seeing my distress and signalling to the midwife that we'd like things explained a bit more.
I generally felt very cared for and had a good birth experience. I was very anti-labour ward before my first labour, but having gone through it once now I know it would be fine if I had to give birth there again (although I'm again booking for a home-birth this time and hoping I will actually get to have it!).
No personal experience of a c-section obviously although I do know they do not offer an elective c-section service on the NHS at UCH (I got a specific leaflet about the fact that they don't do it).
Post-natal: Nothing to write home about, but I'm guessing that's par for the course. I pretty much got left to it. I think twice someone came up to me and said "Baby is feeding well?" (which sounded more like a statement than a real question). I got out of there as soon as they would let me (didn't stay overnight).
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