When you have found out you’re pregnant, the first thing to do is to visit your GP. They will then try to determine when the baby was conceived. You will then be able to discuss birthing options; you have the right to choose which hospital you would like to give birth in even if it’s not your local. If you choose private, then you will have to pay for it out of your own pocket.
Private maternity vs. NHS
- Private maternity can exceed £5,000 for the cost of a consultant, private room charges and pre-natal care whereas the NHS is free to all UK residents.
- NHS hospitals have shared wards with other babies and their mothers; getting a private room in most hospitals is nearly impossible whereas if you go private, you get a luxury suite for as long as you can pay for it.
- Should anything go wrong if you have a private labour they will transfer you to NHS services as they do not have the facilities to deal with emergencies, you would forked out over£ 5,000 for nothing.
- Private maternity care is more personal as you will see the same person but in NHS hospitals, there will be new people daily caring for you.
Other private birthing options
The NHS now has a review system in place where people can talk about their experiences when giving birth in a NHS hospital. Unfortunately all the ones in Hertfordshire have been very poor. There are other options to having a baby privately and a private hospital is just one of them.
Home birth – as most NHS trusts provide this service now anyway, you may be able to get it free but there are some trusts that are not so supporting. If this is the case and you are set on having a home birth, you can have an independent one instead at a cost of £1,200 – £4,000. Independent midwifes are all for natural births and have many years of experience; they will be there from the beginning right through to the end. NHS midwives will come as a team so you won’t be able to build a friendship with the lady that will go on to deliver your baby and it may be someone you don’t know. In any case having your baby at home is more relaxing than in a hospital and if there are any complications you will be transferred to the nearest hospital straight away.
Birthing centres – there are centres nationwide that are nurse led; you pay for the services of a midwife and can choose which birth you would like eg water birth. You will also be able to stay until you feel well enough to go home. Birth centres are mainly for women who do not have any complications but if they are thought to have a difficult pregnancy, then consultant led maternity is also an option.