Pre- and postnatal care has improved hugely in the last ten years, giving mums-to-be greater choice and allowing them to take control. Birth is no longer a question of ‘where’ you want to have your baby, ‘how’ is just as important.
When you first visit your GP having found out you are pregnant, you will be assigned a midwifery team linked to your local hospital. If you don’t live in the catchment area of a particular hospital you can self-refer to a hospital of your choice. Take the opportunity to go and have a look round your chosen hospital or Birth Centre so that when it comes to labour it isn’t all unknown. As your pregnancy progresses, you will start to think about your ‘birth plan’. If you are considered ‘low risk’ you may want to give birth at home under the watch of a local midwife; have an ‘active birth’ in a midwife-led unit (these units or Birth Centres can either stand alone or be within a hospital) or on a hospital Labour Ward with obstetricians and midwives and more pain relief options. An epidural is only available in a hospital Labour Ward. If your pregnancy is deemed ‘high risk’ (medical complications, older maternal age etc), your options may reduce but most hospitals will try to enable you to have as natural a birth as possible.
Most packages are either Consultant-led, the obstetrician who has cared for you throughout your pregnancy will deliver your baby, or Midwife-led where a designated midwife will be present at the birth. Some consultants deliver privately in more than one hospital. Many people choose their consultant from personal recommendations or because they require their specialist skills (multiple birth, assisted fertility etc). You can contact a consultant directly, but be warned that many get very busy so book them early. If it is the facilities/reputation of a specific hospital you require, they can recommend one of their consultants for you. We have listed opposite the consultants that operate privately in a particular hospital. There is a substantial difference in price between the two packages and it is unlikely that your medical insurance will cover the cost. Prices for hospital packages do not include the fees of the consultants (approx £8,500) which will be paid directly to them.
A doula gives emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. Essentially a ‘mother for the mother’, she is not medically trained. There are two types of doula – birth and postnatal – and some cover both areas. A birth doula in London will charge between £800-£2,000 and a postnatal doula between £15-30/hour. To find a doula or for more information visit: doula.org.uk.
St Mary’s Paddington and the Lindo Wing (NHS & Private)
NHS BEDS: 52. 41 combined ante/postnatal beds, 10 delivery and 2 HDU.
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Labour Ward: 10 individual delivery rooms, two birthing pools and two operating theatres. The St Mary’s Birth Centre: 5 en suite bedrooms, three with corner baths and two with birthing pools and a wet room, double beds, mats, hammocks, birth stools and TV. 1:1 midwife care during labour. Partners can stay the night.
PRIVATE: The Lindo Wing: 11 postnatal modern rooms all have en suite bathrooms. Private labour facilities: 5 delivery rooms and one emergency operating theatre. Consultants: Dr Shahla Ahmed, Dr Alex Digesu, Mr Ruwan Fernando, Mr Etienne Horner, Dr Karen Joash, Ms Bryony Jones, Mr Vikram Khullar, Dr Lorin Lakasing, Mr Tariq Miskry, Mr Karl Murphy, Dr Muna Noori, Mr Rajendra Rai, Mr Tom Setchell, Professor Tg Teoh, Ms Christina Yu, Miss Ge Zhang. Price: Contact private wing for details. Nursery: Lindo Wing: 24-hour nursery. Paediatrics: Babies born privately can access the level 3 Neonatal Unit and The Winnicott Baby Unit (special care and intensive care) at St Mary's Hospital.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and The Kensington Wing (NHS & Private)
NHS BEDS: 27 postnatal beds, 16 antenatal and 5-bed High Dependency Unit (HDU). You can request a private room (£350 per night), subject to availability.
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Labour Ward: 9 rooms: 1 with a fixed pool, 1 en suite, 7 share a bathroom between 2 rooms. Birthing Unit: 6 rooms all en suite, 4 with birthing pools and all with mood lighting and a pull down double bed. Midwife care: 10 midwifery teams, (4 community and 6 hospital). Whilst in hospital, you will meet the ‘ward-based’ midwives who support your team.
PRIVATE (CONSULTANT & MIDWIFE-LED): The Kensington Wing has 12 en suite postnatal rooms with pull out single beds for partners. Consultants: Amer Raza, Charlotte Deans, Gubby Ayida, Guy Thorpe-Beeston, Hazem el-Refaey, Keith Duncan, Mina Savvidou, Mark Johnson, Natasha Singh, Nick Wales, Roshni Patel, Mr Shane Duffy, Vasso Terzidou, Yemi Kuponiyi, Berrin Tezcan. Private Labour Ward: 3 delivery rooms. No birthing pools. If you want a water birth, arrange to go to the NHS Birthing Unit. Hospital fees: Midwife-led package is £8,200 for a vaginal delivery. Consultant-led package is £5,900 for a vaginal delivery or £7,435 for a C-Section (plus consultant’s fees). Both include first night in hospital. Paediatrics: Level 3 neonatal unit.
Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital & Sir Stanley Clayton Ward (NHS & Private)
(NHS & Private) Du Cane Road, W12 0HS NHS: 020 3313 1111 Private: 020 3313 3925 imperial.nhs.uk
NHS BEDS: 21 antenatal and 23 postnatal beds.
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Labour Ward: 19 delivery beds and 5 HDU. Birth Centre: 6 labour rooms. 2 birthing pools and 4 postnatal beds. Midwife care: They aim to offer one-to-one care in labour.
PRIVATE (CONSULTANT AND MIDWIFE-LED): Sir Stanley Clayton Ward: 8 en suite bedrooms. Private labour facilities: The NHS beds are used for private births. Consultants: Prof Phillip Bennett, Prof Tom Bourne, Mr William Dennes, Dr Christine Ekechi, Dr Karen Joash, Ms Bryony Jones, Mr Vikram Khullar, Dr Lorin Lakasing, Dr Muna Noori, Mr Richard Sheridan, Miss Ge Zhang. Price: Contact private wing for details. Nursery: 24 hour nursery for private patients only.
St Georges, Tooting & the Carmen Midwifery-Led Birth Centre (NHS only)
Blackshaw Road, SW17 0QT 020 8767 4654 Birth Centre: 020 8725 2039 stgeorges.nhs.uk
NHS BEDS: 32 postnatal beds in the Gwillim Ward. 8 are single rooms, 2 are en suite. Private rooms available on request subject to availability (£100 single, £150 en suite).
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Delivery Suite: 13 rooms, 2 HDU and one 4-bed bay. NHS Carmen Birthing Centre: 4 birthing rooms, two with a pool. Plus bean bags, birthing balls and chairs and mats. Midwife Care: one-to-one care for all women in advanced labour. Paediatrics: Level 3 Neonatal Unit.
Kings College Hospital (NHS & Private)
(NHS & Private) Fourth Floor, Golden Jubilee Wing, Denmark Hill, SE5 9RS NHS: 0203 299 3222 kch.nhs.uk Private: 020 3299 2464 privateobstetricsatkings.com
NHS BEDS: 5-bed postnatal recovery area, 16 antenatal beds
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Nightingale Birth Centre: 10 birthing rooms, a 4-bed area for monitoring pre-birth and a 2-bed HDU. 2 operating theatres. Midwife Care: 2 midwife-led birthing rooms, Beach and Woodland, offer a home from home environment with a pool, en suite and drop down double bed.
PRIVATE (CONSULTANT-LED): All antenatal appointments held at The Fetal Medicine Research Institute, SE5. You give birth in the main NHS maternity unit under your private consultant and then move to the Dulwich Suite. Consultants: Nick Kametas, Devi Subramanian, Sadia Bhatti Hospital fees: Delivery and two-night stay £4,950, any additional night £650. Consultant, anaesthetic and paediatric fees extra. Paediatrics: Level 3 Neonatal Unit.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ and the Westminster Maternity Suite (NHS & Private)
Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7EH NHS: 020 7188 2233 Private: 020 7188 3457 guysandstthomas.nhs.uk
NHS BEDS: 38 postnatal and 24 antenatal beds, 3-bed HDU.
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: The Hospital Birth Centre (Labour Ward): 18 single, en suite rooms, including 5 for elective caesarean use only. 2 specialist obstetric theatres. Home from Home Birth Centre: 9 single, en suite rooms for low risk labour, birth and postnatal care. 2 pool rooms and access to a garden room. Women and partners can stay for up to 24 hours after the birth. Midwife Care: Approx. 10 midwives, with others on call as required.
PRIVATE (CONSULTANT-LED): Westminster Maternity Suite: 6 en suite postnatal rooms. Mums come pre- and post-birth but go to the hospital Birth Centre to deliver. Consultants: Mr Con Kelleher, Dr Dharmintra Pasupathy, Mr Eugene Oteng-Ntim, Mr Kumar Kunde, Mr Lawrence Mascarenhas. Hospital fees: Normal delivery £5,000 (incl one overnight stay), Caesarean section £6,040 (2-night stay). Consultant’s fees extra. £950 for each additional night. Paediatrics: Level 3 Neonatal Unit.
Kingston Hospital & the Coombe Wing (NHS & Private)
Galsworthy Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 7QB NHS: 020 8546 7711 Private: 020 8934 3937 07870 885170 kingstonmaternity.org.uk
NHS BEDS: 44 postnatal rooms. 23 single en suites. 2 obstetric theatres. Transitional Care Unit for 12 babies. Malden Suite: 3 postnatal single en suites, although most women go home 2-6 hours after birth.
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Labour Ward: 8 labour rooms with 1 birthing pool. Malden Suite (midwifery-led for active birth): 4 birthing rooms, 2 with pools. Midwife Care: They strive for one-to-one midwife care when in established labour.
PRIVATE (CONSULTANT-LED): BMI Coombe Wing: 22 en suites but not exclusively maternity. You give birth in the main NHS maternity unit under Consultant: Mr Nick Anim. Hospital fees: Normal delivery £1,320, Caesarean £1,980, Coombe Wing £580 per night. Consultant’s fees extra. NHS maternity unit private room £380/night Paediatrics: Level 2 Neonatal Unit.
The Portland Hospital (Private only, Consultant and Midwife-led)
205-209 Great Portland Street, W1W 5AH 020 7580 4400 theportlandhospital.com
Bedrooms: 18 private postnatal en suite rooms. Guest beds are available for partners to stay overnight. Labour facilities: 5 delivery rooms (one of which is a HDU and one with a birthing pool). All are en suites with baths. Emergency operating theatre. 3 dedicated operating theatres for planned procedures.
Midwife care: Midwife-led delivery includes a team of 6 midwives, one of whom will deliver your baby. In Consultantled deliveries a dedicated midwife will offer one to one care during labour.
Hospital fees: Midwife-led care package costs £9,100 including 3 scans, 16 antenatal appointments, routine blood tests, full care post delivery, 24-hour stay from admission, postnatal physiotherapy and six-week tummy check. Epidural if needed is £995. Consultantled care packages start from £6,100 (Consultant fees are extra). Additional nights spent in hospital from £1,250.
Consultants: There are over 70 consultant obstetricians who deliver at The Portland. They include Miss Claire Mellon and Dr Shazia Malik. Nursery: 24 hours a day. Paediatrics: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Baby Unit.
University College London Hospital & the Fitzrovia Suite (NHS & Private)
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing, 235 Euston Rd, NW1 2BU Maternity Dept: 020 7380 9400 Fitzrovia Suite: 07931 862 006 uclh.nhs.uk
NHS BEDS: 42 antenatal and postnatal beds, one 4-bed close observation bay.
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Labour Ward: (Obstetric and Midwife-led care) 13 en suite rooms, 1 birthing pool and 2 obstetric theatres. EGA Birth Centre (midwife-led for women without complications): 7 en suite rooms, 2 of which have birthing pools. All are equipped with birthing balls, mats and stools. No designated private rooms but single en suite amenity rooms available on request, subject to availability (£250 p/n). Midwives: 10 midwives per shift on labour ward plus maternity care assistants in the team who will ‘help’ you but not deliver your baby. 4 midwives per shift at the Birth Centre supported by a maternity care assistant. Strive to provide one-to-one care in labour for all women. PRIVATE (CONSULTANT-LED): Fitzrovia Suite: Private caesarean sections with 4 en suite rooms. Consultants: Mr George Attilakos, Mr Joseph Iskaros, Prof Eric Jauniaux, Mr Pat O’Brien, Mr Seni Subair, Mr Ruwan Wimalasundera. Hospital fees: £8,750 for up to 3 nights. Consultant and anaesthetist fees are extra. Paediatrics: Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and The Special Care Baby Unit.
Royal Free (NHS only)
Pond St, Hampstead NW3 020 7794 0500 royalfreenhs.uk
NHS LABOUR FACILITIES: Consultant-led Delivery Suite: 5 birthing rooms, 3-bed close observation maternity assessment unit, 2 obstetric theatres. Postnatal care at 5 South Ward. Shared bays and single rooms with en suite facilities. Midwife-led Heath Birth Centre: 2 birthing rooms, 1 pool birthing room, birthing balls, birthing stools etc. Private rooms not available.