"Great antenatal and delivery care, postnatal can..."

About: Queen Charlotte's Hospital

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I had my baby at Queen Charlotte's in February 2012, and would recommend it. Antenatal care was busy, as it is throughout London. However, the midwives were competent and left nothing to chance. They promptly referred me to investigate a cyst discovered at the first scan, checked I was not going going into early labour when I had a nasty stomach bug, and treated me with patience when I was going in and out of hospital with false labour in the last two weeks. The birth itself was long and difficult, but both the midwives at the Birth Centre (where we started) and the consultants and delivery midwives at the Delivery Unit (where we finished 17 hours later) were excellent - calm, professional, and effective. The only hard parts were waiting over 1 hour to be seen by anyone after being transfered to the Delivery Unit, and then another 5 hours for an epidural. However, it was understandable on a super-busy night with several twin deliveries that took precedence, and the staff were clearly doing their best. If there is one negative to mention, it's postnatal care. The midwives were too stretched and the shifts were changing constantly, with patchy quality and no continuity of care. We struggled with feeding as my baby was a ventouse delivery, and I kept getting conflicting messages - one midwife would be concerned about the amount he was eating, another would say he was just fine and I should continue breastfeeding. I left hospital none the wiser, and our baby lost over 10% of his body weight - which meant we had to bring him back and were advised to introduce the bottle straight away. I suspect the midwives in postnatal are heavily discouraged from suggesting bottle-feeding in case women feel pressured into decisions, but it's possible to take the guidance too far. In our case, it was completely appropriate and we've now got a healthy, bouncy toddler. In summary, more capacity in post-natal, better communication and handover between midwives, and a less politicised approach to breastfeeding would have helped. Minor difficulties aside, our overall experience of Queen Charlotte's was positive, and I would not hesitate to recommend it as a safe place to have a baby.

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