Kings or Lewisham Maternity?

Hi all

We are first time parents to be based in FH. I have been automatically referred to the local hospital which is Lewisham where I am due to have the first scan soon. However, Kings Hospital is only a little bit further from us. From what I understand, I can also switch there.

Does anyone have any recent experiences of giving birth, pre and post natal care at any of the two? I understand that Lewisham has the relatively new Birth Centre which looks good. However, the sonographer I have seen for private scans and also some NHS consultant friends (albeit in other areas) all say that Kings has the best reputation.

Many thanks in advance!

J.

Hi Jen,

I had my second born in Kings last year. It was a ‘great’ experience (as great as it can be!). Midwives were lovely and took great care of me both during and after birth. Not the most modern of hospitals but personally I think the team around you are more important. I had a few issues at Lewisham after baby was born which made me grateful I’d opted for Kings over Lewisham. I hope this helps, all the best for pregnancy, birth and beyond!

Kim

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We had our baby at King’s last May, and are also based in FH. I can only speak to that and not Lewisham, but our experience at King’s was very good.

Prenatal care was good, although bear in mind if you’re FH based you’ll likely be classed as ‘out of area’ - this means you go to a different midwifery unit (still on King’s campus but not as salubrious as the main centre!). The scans etc at the Kings Fetal Medicine Research Centre were top, top class.

My wife had a long labour which ended in a C-section, so we were there a while(!) and had several midwives, but they were all fantastic - and really took note of our preferences and birth plan etc. Consultants and anaesthetists, all were great.

Bub had to spend a couple of days in SCBU while we stayed in the ward, which wasn’t the best experience, but there wasn’t much more they could have done to make us more comfortable. Main issue was the ward being on a different floor to SCBU so I had to wheel Mum up and down in the lifts a lot.

We were worried that as ‘out of area’ patients at Kings that our notes etc would be lost when transferred back to Lewisham, who will take on your aftercare and home visits, but this was a smooth transition and all histories/notes passed through correctly.

Worth noting there’s little on offer for partners at Kings - lots of floor/chair sleeping. The M&S onsite was a godsend so I could eat. But this is the general rule across most hospitals I think!

Hope this is helpful - happy to answer any specific questions. Best of luck!
Jon

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We’ve had 2 kids at Kings, last one 6 years ago (so not as recent as others).

First child we were in for 24 hours before he was born, and we were then in the 2 more nights after that. We were put in a private room for the duration but warned we might be moved to a shared ward if a more urgent patient needed it. We had a few issues in the first 24 hours and doctors and nurses were all excellent. I (as the partner) got to stay the whole time, though that was sleeping on a chair not designed for that purpose - had we moved to the shared ward I would have had to leave by a certain time each evening. Second child was born within 20 minutes of arrival and we were home that day!

I know people who have given birth at Lewisham and my take is that Lewisham is a more relaxing experience, with nice rooms which may mean the birth is more likely to go smoothly there (I believe home births are meant to be best for this from memory).

I think I might consider Lewisham were we to have another (we are not!). Something else to consider is that I think Kings is (or was) more popular so you might have a longer wait when you get there and more pressue to vacate a room but go and have a look at both wards and see what you think - the most important thing is choosing where you think you will be most comfortable - both will be good so it’s not a bad choice either way.

Good luck!

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They are both fine and pretty much the same statistically. You can do as much research as you like but it’s really down to randomness as to how busy/crazy it’s going to be when you actually give birth.

Both of ours were Kings and we were really impressed with the care shown to both our first child and my wife after a very difficult birth.

Hi all

Thanks so much for your replies so far, really appreciate you taking the time!

J

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If it reassures you, we had ours at Lewisham and they were great. They have more of the nice birthing suites than King’s I think.

I had my first at Lewisham last year and prenatal care and the midwives were fantastic. The birth centre is lovely, like a hotel - I ended up in the labour ward which looks a lot more like a hospital but was totally fine and overall had a great experience. The postnatal ward was quite busy and I had to stay in for three nights which I didn’t particularly enjoy but this wasn’t anyone’s fault! If I did it again I’d pay for a private room - pricy but worth it for the peace and quiet I reckon if you have to stay for a little while. Friends who were at Kings last year also have positive things to say about it. I would also think about how far you want to travel - we had to go back to Lewisham at least once a week after my daughter was born, firstly for the jaundice clinic and then to see a midwife until she got back to birthweight - and it was much easier for us to walk a mile through the park to Lewisham than trek up to Kings.

The King’s Fetal Medicine Research Centre is very futuristic looking and cool, and I think they routinely offer 3 ultrasound scans rather than the minimum of 2 at other hospitals. I’m not sure how many Lewisham offer.

Asking for an ‘amenity’ room after the birth is a very good idea - it gives a little more space and privacy, if available. There is apparently a fee, but try as I might, King’s didn’t want to charge me and wouldn’t take payment. Facilities for birth partners were pretty poor I think. There is a Co-Op a short walk away, as well as an in-house M&S.

We were transferred back to Lewisham for the follow-up checks, but King’s was an easy trip on the bus, made lots of times for the midwife appointments any way.

Parking at Kings is rubbish and expensive. During the day there can be a queue to get into the car park, and nearby roads are rammed. I would definitely plan for a friend/parent/taxi to drop you and not even consider taking a car yourself if going to Kings. I’m not sure that Lewisham is any better in that respect.

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