Thinking about where to give birth? If you’re based in London, we’ve scoured the capital for the best NHS and private hospitals to give birth in.
After sussing out whether you want to try for a home birth or check in to a hospital, choosing the right place to give birth can also be a big decision. From choosing a hospital somewhere nearby to thinking about your comfort and relationship with the staff, there’s a lot to consider when deciding where to give birth. Whether you’re opting for a private ward or an NHS service, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best hospitals to give birth in London.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
On the NHS labour wards, you can opt for midwife or consultant-led care or you can choose a home birth. There are also two post-natal wards to recover in. The facilities include a birthing pool, which is shared between two birthing rooms. Chelsea and Westminster Hospital recently opened a new choice of birthing options, with its bespoke midwife-led birth centre. This state of the art unit has been designed to make mothers feel as relaxed as possible during their pregnancy journey, having all their ante-natal and post-natal appointments in the same place. There’s also the excellent Kensington Wing if you want to opt for private care for your birth.
The best bit: It’s the only NHS hospital to offer Doulas to give advice and support before and during labour in The Nest – a special room for couples. They also have a clinic for talking through your birth experience a few weeks after your baby arrives.
Imperial College: Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith or St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington
You have a choice of Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital or St Mary’s Hospital and you can choose to have your baby at home, a birth centre or in hospital. They offer a full range of services from midwifery-led to high-risk care. Queen Charlotte’s is renowned for foetal medicine and boasts one of the largest neonatal intensive care units in the country. The labour ward has two theatres.
The Portland Hospital, Regent’s Park
The Portland Hospital delivers over 1,600 babies a year – including Archie, Meghan and Prince Harry’s son in 2019 – and has a team of experienced midwives and consultant obstetricians, many of whom hold senior positions at London’s top NHS hospitals. Facilities include 24-hour anaesthesia, three theatres, Neonatal Intensive Care and Special Care Baby Unit plus a range of ante- and post-natal classes.
The best bit: A range of private en-suite rooms and four exclusive suites, with the option for your partner to stay overnight. There’s also a full hotel service including 24-hour room service.
Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Hospital, Southwark
According to the Care Quality Commission, St Thomas’ offers some of the best maternity services in London and boasts state-of-the-art facilities. Home births are available, as are ward-based births. A full team of maternity staff includes consultants plus specialist and consultant midwives. The birth centre has 13 single, en-suite labour and birth rooms and two dedicated obstetric theatres.
The best bit: The home-from-home birth centre, which has nine rooms suitable for low-risk pregnancies. Led by midwives and with en-suite facilities, there’s a bed-settee for your partner, a birthing ball, mats, stools and even ropes. There are two birthing pools and a garden room to relax in during early labour.
UCLH: The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing, Euston
Part of UCLH, it offers a range of options for normal births right through to problem pregnancies and babies who need special care. You can choose from a home birth with community care, or give birth in the midwife-led birth centre, or on the labour ward with a highly skilled team of midwives and obstetricians. It has two theatres.
The best bit: All rooms in the Birth Centre have en-suite facilities and are brightly designed with controlled lighting. They are also equipped with a birthing ball, mats and birthing stools.
Royal London Hospital, Tower Hamlets
Offering the choice of several levels of care from midwifery to consultant, the hospital has brand new labour wards. You can also choose to give birth in the birthing centre, plus there are ante-natal classes and courses for dads. There is great breastfeeding support, too.
The best bit: The hospital also offers a specialist team of obstetric physiotherapists who offer treatment for pregnancy-related problems such as back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and aching, numbness or weakness in the fingers).
King’s College, Denmark Hill
With a full team of midwives and doctors, you can give birth in the Nightingale birthing centre with its birthing pools and bring along your own music to relax to. The Maternal Assessment Unit helps with problems during labour and there are dedicated theatres and recovery rooms. You can have a community care-led home birth too.
The best bit: There are 10 birthing rooms plus a four-bed unit that is used to care for high-risk women. Rooms have a bed, reclining chair, birthing ball and mat, bean bag, stereo and are en-suite. There are two movable, inflatable pools for water births.
Kingston has a popular maternity service with over 4,900 babies born there in 2020, recently celebrating its 15 year anniversary. Expectant mothers will see the same midwife for each appointment and throughout their individual journey, through the pregnancy and beyond. Kingston offers home births with a small team of midwives, a midwife led-unit and a labour ward using facilities such as the birthing pools, cub stools, bean bags and mats. There’s also an excellent consultant-led private unit.
The best bit: If you want a midwife-led birth, Kingston Birth Centre is one of the most popular and well-regarded midwife-led units in London.
5 Things to Consider Paying for Before Giving Birth
Private room in an NHS hospital
If you had a long or tricky birth or had a caesarean, you may want more privacy and to be able to get the sleep you might miss in a noisy post-natal ward. Private rooms are usually only available if they are not needed for an emergency case, so they can’t be booked. And if you did have a difficult birth, the nurses may want you near their station anyway. The cost is determined by the hospital and varies quite a bit, in the region of £50-150 per night. Be aware that if an emergency comes in, you may get moved out.
A private maternity hospital or wing is almost like being in a hotel, except that you have your baby there, too. You usually choose a package of care and, should you have a problem-free pregnancy with a natural delivery, you’d be paying about £5,500-£8,000. A planned Caesarean would be more, as would any emergency procedures for you or your baby. You get great food though, and the chance for your partner to be with you during and after the birth.
One of the most popular trends in labour, hynobirthing offers mums a range of self hypnosis, relaxation and breathing techniques for a better birth. It is lauded as being the alternative to pain relief and may work well for some women, though not all. Prices vary depending on whether you attend private one-to-one classes with a practitioner or as part of a group but expect to pay between £250 and £400.
You can go to one of these facilities to recover after having your bab. The hotel-like facilities are enhanced with help and care from experts on breastfeeding, nutrition and baby care from £300.
Doula or Night Nanny
If you’ve had a difficult labour or have older children, a Night Nanny can help you get back to normal. They support you with their hands-on experience of babies and mothers and have an extensive knowledge of sleep patterns, the baby’s and mother’s health and sleep safety. In the first weeks you may feel vulnerable and a good Night Nanny offers gentle guidance without dictating to you. Around £100-200 per night.
- 10 Questions to ask Your Midwife During Pregnancy
- Labour Explained: The Realities of a Home Birth
- Everything You Need to Know About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Baby
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