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Going private for pregnancy and birth

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. The joys of pregnancy and the arrival of your newborn can all be accompanied by concerns for the health and wellbeing of mum and baby. To make the most of birth and beyond, some women opt for private maternity care.

 

Private maternity care offers several benefits. You get more of an opportunity to develop a close relationship with your midwife and/or consultant and you can access additional scans such as 3D and 4D ultrasound scans. Private maternity care can also give you more choices when it comes to the actual birth and you can then pay for more help once the baby arrives. Even if you are happy with NHS maternity services available it’s still worth finding out about what private maternity care offers. Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to the full pre- plus postnatal package, you may be able to hand-pick the elements of private care that suit your needs.

 

What types of private maternity care are available?

Private maternity care may include any or all of the following:

 

Professionals for antenatal care:

  • Consultant-led care

  • Independent midwife

 

Antenatal monitoring:

  • General pregnancy ultrasound scans

  • 2D, 3D and 4D ultrasound scans

  • Nuchal fold ultrasound scans for assessing risk of Down’s Syndrome

  • Blood screening for assessing risk of inherited conditions including sickle cell anaemia, thalassaemia and Down’s Syndrome

  • Genetic (chromosome) testing

  • Diagnostic tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS)

 

Delivery and post-delivery options

  • Guaranteed presence of consultant and/or midwife for the duration of the labour and birth

  • Choice of delivery method (within medical requirements)

  • Private stay and continued care following the birth

 

Other private maternity care services

  • Holistic therapies to help with pregnancy and birth including hypnotherapy, reflexology and aromatherapy

 

Care for your newborn

  • Post-natal maternity nurse

  • Night nanny

  • Doula

 

How much does private maternity care cost?

The cost of private maternity care can vary between establishments, but the following gives an indication of how much you can expect to pay for the main services available:

  • Birth: £7,500–10,000, including both the cost of the delivery and the consultant’s fees. Costs vary with choice of delivery method

  • Ultrasound scans: nuchal translucency scans cost £100–£150; 3D and 4D scans cost £200–£300

  • Private midwife (antenatal, post-natal and birth): £4,000–£5,000

  • Private maternity nurse: £700–£1000 per week

  • Night nanny: £70–£90 per night

 

Where can I get private maternity care?

The complete package of private maternity care – which can include all antenatal care, the birth, and post-natal care including a maternity nurse for several weeks, a doula to help during the day and a night nanny for several months – tends to be limited to London hospitals. If you live in Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and the West Midlands you may be able to access more extensive private maternity care services than in other parts of the country, but things change all the time, so it is always worth making enquiries locally.