If you’ve discovered that your baby requires a caesarean delivery, you may not realise that you can choose to have this at The Portland Hospital – the UK’s number 1 private women and children’s hospital – under your private medical insurance policy. Mum of two, Lucy Challice, shares her Portland story…
After discovering that their first baby was in a breech position, around 30 weeks into the pregnancy, Lucy and her husband Ben needed to reconsider their birthing options. Booked in at a local hospital, with hopes for a natural birth, they researched the information on breech delivery and consulted with family and friends. ‘We received advice from many sources,’ says Lucy, ‘but much of it was conflicting and it was hard to know what to think. My cousin had recently given birth at the Portland and highly recommended her consultant, Mr Jeffrey Braithwaite, so we made an appointment.’
Mr Braithwaite, one of the country’s leading obstetric and gynaecology consultants, delivers over 100 babies each year at the Portland. His experience immediately put the couple at ease and he recommended a caesarean section as the safest option for both Lucy and her baby.
Lucy took the news in her stride: ‘Because I was young, fit and healthy, I hadn’t anticipated a caesarean birth. But Jeffrey advised that he would only recommend attempting a breech delivery following two previous natural deliveries, and this was my first baby. My main concern was for the safety and wellbeing of my baby and myself, and Jeffrey reassured me that a caesarean was indeed the safest option for my baby’s welfare.’
The hospital’s exceptional safety record leads many women to choose the Portland for elective caesarean deliveries, and this confidence is reflected in the hospital’s birth statistics. By contrast, the Portland’s rate for emergency caesarean deliveries is significantly low – nearly half the national average* for first pregnancies. The hospital attributes this to the high levels of individual care and monitoring that they offer all women during pregnancy and labour.
Mr Braithwaite pointed out that, because Lucy’s caesarean delivery was recommended on medical grounds, the couple’s private medical insurance policy would probably cover the procedure at the Portland. ‘Because events had moved so quickly, we hadn’t even considered that Ben’s corporate insurance policy might cover the birth,’ Lucy said. ‘We were so impressed with the Portland that we were prepared to pay the costs ourselves, but when Jeffrey told us that we should check our policy, it was wonderful to find out that we were covered.’
The couple completed the necessary forms for Ben’s insurance company and Mr Braithwaite performed the caesarean section to safely deliver baby Saffron.
The couple’s insurance policy covered them for a stay of four nights following the birth, and they decided to pay for an additional night to ensure Lucy was fully recovered from the operation before returning home. ‘Our room was extremely comfortable, and the choice and quality of the food was excellent,’ Lucy said. Ben was also able to stay in the room with his new family every night, which helped Lucy’s recovery even further.
Lucy looks back on her first birthing experience with happy memories: ‘Although giving birth is never easy, however it happens, Jeffrey and the other staff involved in my care were so calm and reassuring, I felt completely safe. It really was a privilege to be able to bring Saffron into the world in such a nurturing environment.’
Two years later, Lucy and Ben were thrilled to discover they were expecting a second baby and this time the couple knew exactly where they wanted to go for their maternity care. ‘We’d had such a positive experience with the Portland and completely trusted Jeffrey, so it was the obvious choice to return for my second pregnancy,’ says Lucy.
The Portland and Mr Braithwaite provided all of Lucy’s antenatal care and, as the due date approached, the couple discovered that their second baby was lying in a transverse position. As before, Lucy was advised that a caesarean section was the safest way to proceed and the couple knew that their insurance policy would cover them for the birth.
Mr Braithwaite safely delivered baby Orlando and Lucy and Ben were again struck by the quality of care they received: ‘I can honestly say that all the staff were excellent,’ says Lucy. ‘Nothing was too much trouble, and I felt that they completely respected my needs. Everyone went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable and pain relief was always available. My midwife, Joan, was outstanding and I’m so grateful to her for making the experience as special as it was. I really couldn’t fault my time at the Portland…in fact, it could make me consider baby number three!’
“Although giving birth is never easy, I felt completely safe”
Mr Jeffrey Braithwaite
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Many of the couples I see are, naturally, very focused on their pregnancy and are unaware that their private medical insurance policy could cover a caesarean delivery required for medical reasons. I normally prompt them to check their policy to see if they are covered for care at The Portland Hospital.
It was clear with both of Lucy’s pregnancies that a caesarean delivery was the safest option for her and the baby, and I was glad to be able to help her receive that care at the Portland under Ben’s insurance policy.
Most private medical insurance policies cover caesarean deliveries required for medical reasons at The Portland Hospital.