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Birth at UCH London - what was your experience?

(64 Posts)
Koumak Fri 06-Feb-09 11:45:26

I am not even pregnant yet but i was thinking about this hospital for my birth as its half way from my house and work. Last time gave birth at Chelsea & Westminster which is now way too far. Have you given birth at UCH and what was your experience. Would you recommend?

becksydee Fri 06-Feb-09 13:51:58

i'm 11 weeks pg and getting my antenatal care at UCH (plan to give birth there too). so far i've had my booking in appointment and a scan at the early pregnancy unit and i've been very impressed. looking forward to seeing responses from others

Koumak Tue 10-Feb-09 11:46:22

any more?

MrsMattie Tue 10-Feb-09 11:52:15

I had my DD at UCH in Nov 08 (their first week in the new building). I can't recommend it highly enough.

The antenatal care was good, although I experienced long waits for appointments (was usually seen anything up to an hour after my appointment time, which was slightly annoying).

My birth experience was great. I had some complications in late pregnancy which they were fantastic about, and ended up with a c-section, however, it was an utterly positive experience. Nice and clean, generally lovely staff, I felt very in control all along. My only gripe was that I was discharged so soon afterwards! I would have loved to stay another day or two, as felt very looked after.

(I should add, I had my first child at the Royal Free and it was horrenous in all respects! sad).

Miarey Fri 13-Feb-09 19:55:02

Hello MrsMattie
I'm having my c section on 12th March at UCL. Glad to hear yours went well and you are happy. I've just been getting together my hospital bag and seem to have alot of stuff! How long did you stay? Do you have any tips on what to take?
I'm also worried about what kind of support there will be for lifting the baby to change and feed during the night. How late did they let your partner stay?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. You may be able to sense the panic in my writing!

babyc Sat 14-Feb-09 08:44:08

Hi, I'm also booked in for a CS, but not until April. Any advice on what happens would be great to hear. I'm not quite sure how long I will stay or when the baby will be with me, or how long partners can stay for.


newmumof2 Sat 14-Feb-09 10:23:47

i had elective c sections at both old and new UCH, new one much nicer, cleaner etc but the care before and during c-section very good, cannot fault.

arrived at 7am, was booked in, put in gown etc but then had to wait until 4.30pm as women before had complications.

i was discharged less than 48 hours after i had baby!! hmm i wasn't ready to leave as i was still in pain, in hindsight i should have insisted i see the doctor and stay another night, anyway all in all it was a good experience!

midwives and nursery nurses very helpful looking after baby for me as i was unable to get out of bed to lift baby out of cot until sunday morning! they anticipate that!

other than the usuals, baby clothes, nappies maternity pads... take a nice blanket for baby, take nighties for you (a size bigger) that are button up so you can breasfeed easily, lots of big over your belly pants so they don't sit on your scar grin, peppermint tea bags to help with the wind after... arnica pills help healing of c-section. also start prepping your nipples with lasinoh (sp)nipple cream!

oh and one thing i wish i had planned better for was clothes post c-section when i got home! it took me longer to recover second time and all my maternity bottoms sat on my scar which hurt, (my first i cant remember so much) first few days in bed i just wore my big pants (size bigger again!), then progressed to ultra soft joggers at home and leggings going out!!

my dh stayed until 9pm first night (but i had just come up) and 8pm 2nd night.

hope that helps! good luck!

Miarey Sat 14-Feb-09 14:59:02

Thanks newmumof2, sounds like your postnnatal care was better than I was expecting. Feel reassured. I'd heard such horror stories about being left with a crying baby not being able to get to the baby to comfort / feed /change them.
Good advice on the clothes will buy a few pairs of yoga pants for afterwards.

Can I ask if your dh could have stayed later if wanted? We're having our first so he would really like to stay.
Have got some Lanisoh nipple cream - should I use it before I have the baby then? I thought it was just for after feeding....

Thanks for your reply and advice.

newmumof2 Sat 14-Feb-09 17:50:40

oh my goodness, don't worry, just keep buzzing that buzzer if they don't.. they came pretty quick for me, i guess being a c-section recovery they have to as we're pretty helpless post op!

we had the curtain drawn so dh managed to stay beyond visiting hours but he was told time was up a couple of times before finally leaving! maybe he should have hidden under the bed!wink but i was getting tired! anyway due to the delay our surgeon did come speak to us saying that normally all planned c-sections are done by 1pm, there are 2 theatres, one for emergencies and one for planned so unless (like us) one of the planned has complications you should have plenty of time with your dh!

yes lasinoh is for after to help relieve sore nipples, but i used it before, just rubbed in every other day or so nearer birth so my nipples bit more robust!! for someone so small babies do give your nipples a good working out leaving them feeling very sore, well mine did! wink

oh the other thing, they didn't give me my bounty pack, maybe i was asleep when the bounty woman came round, but i forgot to ask so never got it! sad

ChocFudgeCake Sat 14-Feb-09 18:00:54

I'm going there for my current pregnancy. Had DS there 4 years ago. There were ups and downs. At one point I was having scans every week as the pregnancy appeared to be high risk. I got to be seen by the consultants! (Usually known only by name). I thought I was in good hands.

On the downside I had a 3rd degree tear, I do not know if that could have been avoided. My experience during labour was awful only because STUPID ME I kept refusing pain relief as I wanted a very natural delivery. At the end I did have some injection in the thigh.

I found out that once in the ward, I had to get my own breakfast!! So dashed to the breakfast room and left baby alone! Very weird, I hope they changed that in the new building.
I had tried to breastfeed during the day, at night baby was crying a lot so I called a nurse. She was annoyed that I didn't know the baby was hungry and was giving me a hard time for my stupidity. She said that I should know these things since in my notes it said this is my 2nd baby. When I told her that my 1st baby had died, then she softened a little and eventually managed to get a bottle of formula (I didn't have any milk).
I hope this time I find someone nicer.

MrsMattie Sat 14-Feb-09 18:01:22

Hello MrsMattie
I'm having my c section on 12th March at UCL. Glad to hear yours went well and you are happy. I've just been getting together my hospital bag and seem to have alot of stuff! How long did you stay? Do you have any tips on what to take?
I'm also worried about what kind of support there will be for lifting the baby to change and feed during the night. How late did they let your partner stay?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated. You may be able to sense the panic in my writing!

Hi Miarey

I had my baby at 1pm. They came round and told DH he needed to get ready to go at about 9pm, but he stayed until nearly 11pm and by that time I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.

I found the support excellent. They have buzzers by the bed and every time I buzzed someone came promptly and all staff were happy to help - day and night. They also have remote control thingies beside the bed so you can control the lighting in your bay and adjust the bed up/down/reclining etc.

The staff helped me to get up and about and walk, and to shower/change when I needed it. Everyone was really nice. There was one senior midwife who was very bossy, but even she was nice - she practically forced me to get up the day after the op (I didn't want to!) but glad she did, as I recovered quickly after that.

I also liked the way they allow you to self medicate - so you are offered paracetomol and codeine regularly after the op, but can also request stronger doses of codeine and/or morphine of you want it, depending on how you feel.

My only gripe is that they kicked me out after 48 hours! I thought I'd be in at least 3 days and was really enjoying being looked after and existing in a little bubble with just me and my baby, but as soon as you are up and about, they deem you well enough to go home and discharge you.

Good luck - and if you have a lovely French midwife called Laurence, say hello to her from me! She was in theatre calming my nerves and was the most lovely, soothing presence.


Miarey Sat 14-Feb-09 19:56:26

Thanks for your replies. I feel so much better!

Miarey Sun 15-Feb-09 19:36:53

Hello again, for those of you that have recently had a c section at UCLH - did you have staple style stitches or disolvable?


MrsMattie Mon 16-Feb-09 17:40:58

I had stitches this time. It is completely dependent on the surgeon who operates, though - and I have been told by a friend who is a surgeon that it is best to let the surgeon decide, as they will go with the technique they are best at/most confident with, and that means they are likely to do a better job than if, say, they are used to doing staples and you request stitches.

Saying that, I think the majority of surgeons do use stitches. I had staples with my first section, and I have to say, I didn't notice any difference to the look or feel of my scar.

babyc Mon 16-Feb-09 18:05:34

MrsMattie - thank you for all the advice/tips. It is making me feel a lot better as I really didn't know what to expect. Good to know that they expect the ops to be one by 1pm.
Can I ask one more question - when did you see your doctor in the run up to the actual CS? I was seeing a range of doctors every week or two, and having regular scans, but am now not so high risk so have just started with the midwives and scans evey 3 weeks. Did you get an appointment with the doctor before the CS?


Miarey Mon 16-Feb-09 19:15:04

Thanks Mrs Mattie. Good advice as always.

Koumak Fri 20-Feb-09 16:18:14

any more? also are they any mothers out there who had natural birth there?

Koumak Thu 26-Feb-09 15:29:13

dont tell me only 6 or so women used UCH in london - wow - think of the ratio mw grin

Koumak Thu 05-Mar-09 14:00:17


becksydee Thu 05-Mar-09 15:13:32

hi again koumak, if all goes to plan i'll be having my baby at the bloomsbury birthing centre - i'll try and remember to come back to this thread in september and let you know how it went!

Koumak Wed 17-Jun-09 16:11:06

just wondering if anyone has any updates on UCL?

shortie3 Wed 17-Jun-09 16:43:28

Just saw your message and I was down for a natural birth for DS1 in May 2007. It was very clean and comfortable, we were given a large room and had 2 midwifes helping us (occasionally a third popped in also). The midwifes were the ladies that did my antenatal appointments and were great. I had the choice of the birthing pool, ball, bucket etc....

There were very relaxed and helpful. Unfortunately, after 3 hours in active labour it was decided I needed assistance since DS1 had a large head and did not move despite all the effort and no drugs. We were wheeled to the hospital side (5 mins away)and seen after 20 minutes. They tried the ventouse/forceps but he was too high up. We then went for emergency c-section and were prepared straight way. DS1 was out about 90 minutes after I asked for assistance and he was born at 3.49am so I was very happy with the care. We were then in a side room for a few hours with a dedicated midwife and moved the ward at 6am. My midwifes came to visit us them and reassured us that boys are stubborn and also his head was too big for my build.

The ward was full of women who had c-sections which meant you something in common. The care was good but yes, you had to get breakfast yourself. There are few helpers which you can ask or one of other more active mothers will help.

We plan to use UCH again since it was better than the private care, that one of the girls in my NCT had. We also had the one of the same midwives do follow-up visits for a fortnight.

Koumak Thu 02-Jul-09 15:40:01

Thanks shortie for your update!
I have been happy with the care so far but what do I know am only 23 weeks, this is number 2. Number 1 was born at Chelsea and Westminster and although it all went well in the end the care wasn’t great. I too should be at the birthing centre rather than the labour ward but only time will tell!

Elpis Wed 08-Jul-09 08:07:58

I had my first child at UCH in April and was very impressed. It was a very long labour that didn't progress and I ended up having an emergency c-section. All three shifts of midwives were wonderful (though the one I first encountered in the Bloomsbury Birthing Centre, before being transferred to the labour ward, was curt) and the surgery team fantastic.

They can be a bit disorganised around discharge, especially at weekends, and the food is pretty poor, but I was home within 48 hours of the operation. I wouldn't hesitate to have another baby there.

bunnymother Wed 08-Jul-09 09:19:43

I had our baby there 3 weeks ago, and I had a v similar experience to Elpis. I started in the birthing centre, and the trainee midwife was pretty average, then was sent to the labour ward. The staff there were absolutely fantastic. They were calm and explained everything to us so we understood what was happening and why. They had a full team available instantly and ensured that our baby was delivered as quickly and safely as possible. I couldn't fault the care.

We recovered in the recovery ward, and again the staff were terrific. The food, not so, but Pret isn't far away! DH brought me Pret for many meals - happy times! He stayed well past visiting hours, but that was OK with them. I will definitely have our next baby there.

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