THE BEST HOSPITALS TO VISIT FOR PRIVATE MATERNITY CARE IN LONDON
By Jodi Bartle
Of the many choices you have to make as a parent, choosing where to give birth is one of the big ones, full of confusing information.
In London, aside from the bathroom floor at home, there are two broad options - you either find somewhere on the NHS or you choose to give birth in a private maternity hospital.
Going for private maternity care means you pay to give birth in a hospital or in a private facility within an NHS hospital.
A recent survey suggests that 5% of new parents opted for maternity care in a private hospital, with the main reason for doing so to get more personalised medical care, closely followed by a desire for additional comfort and services.
A private maternity hospital or wing is a little like being in a lovely hotel where you check out with your luggage, good health and a fresh new baby.
With both private antenatal hospital care in London and private maternity care wings, you usually choose a package of care that suits you (and your bank balance).
Costs will spiral upwards from £5,500-£8,000 for a problem-free pregnancy with a natural delivery; a planned Caesarean would cost more money, as would any emergency procedures for you or your baby and if you need an obstetrician, you'll need to pay their fees on top.
However, the food is good, and with a private en-suite room, you’ll probably get much better rest for both you and your partner - and in many cases, your partner can join you in staying in your room.
Here’s a roundup of private hospitals and wings in London if you fancy something more than post-birth cup of tea and toast and a weak shower shared with a whole lot of other bewildered, engorged women and their lovely, noisy babies.
Quite the choice for celebrities and Spice Girls (both Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham had babies here), this one is the luxury option.
Packages are touted as enabling prospective parents “flexibility and control over their pregnancy, choice of birth and birth plan, so they can enjoy a truly individual experience” and are either consultant or midwife-led.
Midwives are available 24 hours a day, and for those of us who require it, privacy measures can be put in place by request, ensuring that only those with approved visitor status has access to the maternity floor.
An ‘advanced security system’ comes in the form of an electronic bracelet that is given to mother and baby so the baby’s location can be monitored over the time they are at the Portland.
There are private pregnancy scans in the lead-up, and post-delivery there are private rooms, an additional bed for a partner, private en-suite bathrooms and toiletries, dressing gowns and slippers available, as well as a physiotherapist on hand. Food comes from the capable hands of a team of 10 chefs, with seasonal offerings and individual tastes catered for.
This unit has been in the private baby delivering business for 20 years, and boasts some of the most accomplished and well-trained private midwives, obstetricians, neonatologists, and anaesthetists available, so you can be confident that the welfare of both you and your baby are in the best of baby-catching hands.
According to the Care Quality Commission, St Thomas’ offers some of the best maternity services in London and boasts state-of-the-art facilities.
More than 7,000 babies are delivered in the St Thomas’ maternity unit each year with 400 of them in the private suite.
The hospital itself is a comprehensive, safe and highly regarded NHS teaching hospital capable of dealing with both straightforward and complex pregnancies.
A bonus is the hospital’s proximity to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital where there is access to the best specialist care from St Thomas’ consultant neonatologists who treat premature babies and those requiring complex care.
There are good views too - located in central London, the rooms offer views of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.
Paddington’s The Lindo Wing at St Mary’ Hospital is world famous for having been the birthplace of Princes William and Harry as well as William and Kate’s three kids - and with good reason, as the wing has overseen private births for generations of families since 1937.
Here, you’ll receive private maternity care and advice from a consultant of your choice and a team of dedicated midwives.
As well as the creation of a safe, personalised care plan that suits you and your baby for every stage of pregnancy and birth, the Lindo Wing has the benefit of being linked to St Mary’s, which is a major NHS hospital with a specialist neonatal care unit.
This means, for any nervous parent-to-be, that the team has the expertise and capacity to respond quickly to any complication, 24 hours a day.
There are modern private en-suite rooms, all meals are made to order, and you can even order a celebratory high tea with optional champagne to welcome your new arrival.
There’s an onsite secure supervised nursery, so you can enjoy some rest.
This is the time to read your novel, because, er, it’ll be a long while before you manage anything cover to cover again.
At Imperial College’s The Sir Stanley Clayton Ward at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, you’ll have the choice between both consultant and midwifery-led births.
Able to help with complex births, the unit has a nationally celebrated centre for fetal care, along with the largest neonatal intensive care unit in the country.
The Sir Stanley Clayton ward has modern, private en suite bedrooms and you can request one of the wards double bedrooms so your partner can stay too (which they encourage).
Each room comes satellite TV and free Wi-Fi as standard.
Post-natally, they offer (at extra cost):
Within 48 hours of your discharge from hospital, a home visit to see how you are adjusting to life with your new baby
A day five visit to we check how you both are, that feeding is well established, carry out the newborn blood test (heel prick) and check baby’s weight.
On day 10 they will check on you and baby’s wellbeing, that baby is gaining weight and you are recovering well from the delivery.
This is located in one of the UK’s safest hospitals with some of the lowest perinatal mortality rates across the country.
There’s both luxury and comfort of private care here with the peace of mind that comes with being in the hands of the professionals at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital which is fully accredited by the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (which recognises maternity units that adopt international standards of best practice in the care of both mothers and babies).
There’s a tool on the website that allows you to build a bespoke quote so you’ll have an idea of what you’ll be paying to get the right package for you.
If you want/need a planned C-Section, The Fitzrovia Suite is where you can go for a for private caesarean section under the care of their expert doctors and midwives.
With the backup of the extensive facilities at UCLH, en-suite rooms are located within the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing. All women who deliver within the Fitzrovia suite have access to:
High quality obstetric care with provision for complications of pregnancy (if necessary)
Private midwifery care
If clinically required babies will have access to:
The Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
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