The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time for any family but with so many care options available, it can be daunting choosing the right one for you. The Kensington Wing at Chelsea and Westminster Foundation Trust is designed to provide you and your baby with the best possible care to ensure that your stay is as relaxed as possible. The Trust is one of the biggest providers of maternity services in the country, therefore, is able to offer patients the very latest knowledge, research and initiatives throughout their care. Here we detail the pros of going private during pregnancy.
Antenatal care is an important part of a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby and should include regular appointments with a midwife, ultrasound scans and screening tests. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that if you’re healthy, and it’s your first pregnancy, you should have 10 antenatal appointments. If you’ve already had a healthy pregnancy, you might have fewer. Going private during your pregnancy can ensure more flexible appointment times and having the same consultant or midwifery team throughout your antenatal and postnatal care.
Private pregnancy scans
All pregnant women in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should be offered at least two ultrasound scans by the NHS as part of their antenatal appointments schedule. You might be offered more than two scans – for example, if there are concerns about your health or your baby’s growth. But for most women having straightforward, healthy pregnancies, the early pregnancy scan and the anomaly scan are all that are recommended.
Going private offers several different types of private scans that you might consider. Parents may choose to pay for additional scans to discover the gender of their baby, for added reassurance, to see a specialist or to detect underlying medical conditions. Additional scans include:
A viability scan which is done between 6 and 10 weeks to see whether your pregnancy is developing at the average rate. This can be reassuring if you’ve experienced pain or bleeding, or if you’ve previously had a miscarriage.
A gender scan aims to find out your baby’s sex. Hospitals can usually tell you at your NHS anomaly scan, but not all do, so you might want to pay to find out privately.
3D and 4D scans give you a clearer look at your baby. You might see your baby sucking its thumb, stretching, yawning and kicking. You usually get a selection of pictures and, in the case of 4D scans, a video to take home.
Going private during your pregnancy gives mums-to-be more personalised medical care. If you choose to give birth in a private hospital your obstetrician will usually look after you in labour, but you can also have midwife-led care. After labour, many institutes offer a private en-suite room with hotel-like facilities. Private healthcare can also guarantee the presence of a consultant and/or a midwife for the duration of the labour and birth, a choice of delivery method (within medical requirements) and holistic therapies to help with pregnancy and birth including hypnotherapy, reflexology and aromatherapy.
Continuity of care
If you give birth in an NHS maternity unit, it’s likely that you’ll be moved to a postnatal ward after labour where you’ll share the ward with a number of other mothers. Many new mums chose to pay for their hospital care in order to enjoy total privacy with their new family. The Kensington Wing of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, for example, has a spectacular postnatal suite with a private lounge and en-suite bathroom. In addition to all the comforts of a standard room in the Kensington Wing, this maternity suite features a custom-built double bed, multiple televisions, a fridge, complimentary toiletries, luxury bed linen and towels.
When it comes to your midwifery care, a recent NCT study found that women who see less than four midwives during the antenatal period report a better quality of antenatal care than women who see five or more. If you book with a private or independent midwife, you will usually be looked after by one or two midwives who will deliver all of your care. New mums who have given birth with private midwives can pay to carry on seeing the same midwife from antenatal through labour and beyond.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital promote natural birth where possible and have invested £1.5m to expand its midwife-led care by building a dedicated new birth centre that opened in January 2014. It is the only NHS Trust in the country to employ doulas and run a Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC) clinic for mothers who have previously had an uncomplicated caesarean. You can also choose to have your baby with them through your midwife, at any of its community or hospital clinics, or through your GP.