Bringing a new life into the world is one of life’s great privileges. Childbirth is an event that should be cherished and shared with the people you love, and choosing where and how you will have your baby will determine your particular experience. Private maternity hospitals can enhance what is a wonderful moment in any mum’s life. State-of-the-art equipment, highly experienced clinicians and comfortable surroundings can make childbirth extra special. But with several private maternity hospitals to choose from in the UK, how do you select the one that’s right for you? Ask the following questions, and you should be able to choose the best hospital based on the facts.
What are the hospital’s childbirth statistics?
You should be able to gauge a private maternity hospital’s credentials by taking an in-depth look at the facts and figures. It is only natural that hospital staff will give their own institution a glowing report, but statistics often paint a clearer, more objective picture. Ask how many babies were delivered at the hospital last year, and request a breakdown of the types of births – including those by Caesarean section, vaginal births and natural births.
Does the hospital offer a choice of consultant-led and midwife-led care?
Depending on your personal preferences, you might want a consultant obstetrician to take the lead with both your antenatal programme and your childbirth. You may feel more comfortable with a team of midwives taking control. Not all private hospitals offer this choice, so ask the question at the very beginning of your selection process.
Does the hospital offer one-to-one care?
Having to deal with several different doctors and midwives during a childbirth can be stressful for expectant mums. There is something very comforting about building up trust and developing a relationship with your very own clinician – whether that’s with a consultant or a midwife. Ask the hospital about their approach to care during childbirth. Relying on just one person to take charge will put you at ease and allow you to fully appreciate a wonderful moment in your life.
What life-saving facilities does the hospital have?
Not all private hospitals are prepared for the full range of complications and emergencies that can arise during childbirth. Before you make your choice, ask about life-saving facilities such as a neonatal intensive care unit, a special care baby unit and a transitional care unit. Also, ask about the hospital’s ability to care for mothers who experience complications during labour.
What antenatal facilities are available at the hospital?
The great thing about choosing private maternity care is that you can enjoy your entire pregnancy in one place – with people who have developed a relationship with you during the previous months. Ask about foetal medicine and obstetric ultrasound facilities. Does the hospital offer development scans, screening tests and 3D imaging facilities?
Antenatal care also involves education and the promotion of wellbeing. The best private maternity hospitals offer a comprehensive programme of antenatal classes – ranging from Pilates and yoga to hypnobirthing and childbirth preparation classes. Ask if these classes are for mothers and their partners, and whether they’re run by qualified midwives and instructors.
What residential amenities are available at the hospital?
Your childbirth will be so much more rewarding if you feel at home in your surroundings. Private maternity accommodation – such as that offered at The Portland Hospital – gives you and your partner the privacy you need while allowing you to enjoy all the facilities and luxury of a top hotel. Before you choose a hospital, ask for some sample menus – for both you and your guests. Concierge services, satellite TV, 24-hour room service, free WiFi and personal shopping services are available in only the UK’s most prestigious maternity hospitals.
Choosing the right private maternity hospital for your childbirth doesn’t need to be a stressful experience. Have your questions ready beforehand, and you’ll be able to make the right choice for you, your family and the child you’re bringing into the world.
Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by The Portland Hospital – the only private hospital in the UK dedicated exclusively to the care of women and children. For more information, please visit – www.theportlandhospital.com