Moms' Opinion: What Are The Best Options For Maternity Care?
Working out what route to take for Maternity Care is a big decision, full of unknowns. Is it best to go Private? Public? Semi-Private? Domino Scheme? Not to mention Home Birth and all the options within the main choices.
Sadly, a lot depends on which hospital you get, what staff you get, and how busy it is when you finally go into labour. But after one Mom got in touch to ask for opinions; we thought we'd share the feedback from our wonderful community:
“Hi Moms, I am looking for advice on maternity care. I am trying to conceive my second baby at the moment and I am not sure what hospital care to choose next time. I went private on my first, and have to say I couldn't fault it. I was looked after really well, scanned at every appointment, and I was lucky to get a private room after the birth. I felt in very good hands in labour; and my consultant was checking in on me constantly, and was there for the delivery.
I hear horror stories of women left in labour for hours and hours, and things going wrong; and I feel that this wouldn't happen as a private patient, and I suppose this is what scares me. If money was no object I would go private again but this time it's harder to justify. I'd like to hear people's experiences and opinions of both private and public; especially moms who have done both to compare them or from midwives/professionals in the know. Thanks."
Adrienne: I went private in 1 hospital for my 1st son in 2007, and the whole experience was brutal from start to finish. Went public in 2013 for the birth of my 2nd son in a different hospital, and I seriously couldn't praise the care I got enough!! Public care was the only way to go, for me anyway.
Oliver: I went private with my 2 sons, and felt isolated and alone. Went public with my daughter, on GP's advice, and it was such an amazing experience. I was under the same consultant, who told me he was there if I needed him, but he was sure I wouldn't; and was looked after by a team of amazing midwives. Every clinic was friendly, warm and natural. Care was second to none, and I felt I was a woman having a baby - not a patient being treated.
Ciara: I went public in the Rotunda and cannot fault it. Difficult pregnancy, and in and out of A&E so much I thought I was being silly; but they assured me that if I was uneasy, then hospital was the best place to be. They answered every question, and took the time to explain everything to me. When in labour, a midwife and trainee were in the room all the way through. After several hours of slow labour it was like having friends in the room, as they were so reassuring.
Eszter: Went public with both of my girls. I had to be induced both times, but wonderful midwives, helped me through the two days labour. The only con would be the long waiting at the midwife clinic, but to be honest it was good to be alone for a couple of hours!
Clíona: Had my son last year in Clonmel as a public patient: Got scanned at every appointment, and was lucky enough to have a private room when my waters went. Was kept for 2 days, and ended up in a ward after having him, which I was only delighted about, because everyone in the room helped each other. I couldn't see how being private and paying, would be any different to the experience I had. Also, a ward in Clonmel is a room of 4, so it was grand.
Julie: I went private in the Rotunda on the advice of my GP, as I had a very high risk pregnancy, with scans frequently from 7 weeks onwards. The care and advice I was given was amazing. At 20 weeks I was moved to low risk, but still scanned every 4 weeks, and weekly after 34 weeks. If you are high risk and can afford it, I would go private.
Sue: I went public with my first, and private with second and third. Absolutely no comparison in terms of the level of care received: To me, going private was worth every penny.
Geneviève: I went public for my first 2 babies. They were both premature and emergency sections: With my first little girl, her care was out of this world. With my second little girl, there was so much that went wrong with both our care; so for my 3rd baby I went private, and I found the care to be amazing. There was so much reassurance and care, and when I did go into early labour again, there was no big emergency, and no complications. I rang my consultant and an hour later was in theatre. Out of the 3, the private was the best; and I finally got to leave the hospital with my baby in my arms 5 days later. If you can afford it, go for it. It will give you peace of mind.
Claire: I went private, not for the appointments without the queues or the private room, they were bonuses: I chose private for the assurance of a consultant doctor in the room, ready to intervene, if God forbid, something went wrong. They only had to observe, and a midwife ended up delivering; but still it’s piece of mind. My consultant was available, but I was told if she wasn't another consultant doctor would step in. They do in general try and attend their own patients though.
Siobhan: You hear sad stories from public and private patients, where things were undiagnosed/completely missed. While going private may not guarantee your consultant being around for your delivery, it will ensure a colleague will be: It’s when things are not going to plan, that being private kicks in. We spoke of [going private] as we had the first two public, but suffered two miscarriages; then on 5th pregnancy after all the pros & cons, we decided to stay public.
When we were in trouble in labour with an unexpected haemorrhage, we asked for our consultant, to be told we couldn't have him: Our son died, and I nearly died. Our consultant cried at our bedside the next morning, saying he was downstairs having a coffee with a colleague, and no one told him: He stood in for 2nd operation, and saved my life. It was undiagnosed Vasa Praevia that robbed us of our son; sadly I had 5 of the risk factors, but went unchecked for it. Tough decision when you trying to balance all … that is my regret, for what it’s worth.
Siobhan: I went semi-private in the Rotunda and cannot fault it: Scanned at every appointment, and looked after well at the end of a long complicated birth.
Sharon: Public on my 1st and semi-private on my 2nd. I found semi-private so much better, and when baby arrived I was only in with 2 other women; but when public I was in a ward of 10 beds: It was crazy busy, and I could not wait to get home!
Karen: Public on my first two, and semi-private on my last baby, in the Rotunda: Can't fault semi-private.
Leah: I went semi-private in Cork for both my pregnancies: A fantastic experience both times. The staff were fantastic, and I had regular scans.
Sarah: I went public with the Domino scheme (Midwife Led Unit) in Holles street, and they were just brilliant. You saw the same few midwives, leaving you with a good chance you'll know the person you're with during labour. They were very attentive and kind. They had their own labour room (which I was lucky to get). I'd recommend them every time!
Louise: I had both my babies in a Midwifery Led Unit. Excellent 1-1 care throughout, and a single room after birth. Couldn't fault it; a lovely calm environment.
Melanie: There's not much difference between public and private in most hospitals. I'd 100% recommend midwife led care if you can get it. Midwife led care has better outcomes, and you get to know the midwives before labour.
Alisha: I was accepted for the Midwifery Led Unit, and could not fault it. It was a very personal experience, with the midwives, who all learned to recognise me. They were attentive, sociable and pleasant and kept me informed at every turn. Unfortunately I was overdue with my first so I had to be transferred out for an induction, but had two lovely midwives who were very supportive and understanding of how upset I was in the sudden change of plans.
Second time around I managed to give birth in the MLU and the experience was second to none: Minimal interference, very relaxing, and as many birthing partners as I wanted. 100% privacy as I had my own en-suite room, and my husband was allowed to stay with us after the birth on a pull-out couch. The aftercare was excellent and I received visits and calls from a few of the midwives, asking me how I was getting on with different aspects of motherhood.
Lyndsay: What about doing Domino: It's a midwife led team. You build up a relationship through the pregnancy with the midwife that will be with you for the birth. And depending on time of birth, you can be home and in your own bed 4 hours after. The midwife calls to you at home for a couple of days after the birth, and then once a week for a few weeks. She'll do the heal prick at home and she will also give you your files to have a look through. I have 4 kids. The first three were all public, and the last was Domino, and by far the best experience.
So what did you go for, and if you have chosen differently for each of your children, how have your experiences differed? We'd love to hear!
Disclaimer: Some responses may have been edited for clarity. However, every care has been made to avoid altering the meaning, and tone of such comments.