Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Alongside Birth Centre

Last updated: 22 Jun 2017

The Heath Birth Centre

Contact & visitor information

A birth centre is a more homely environment, where the focus is on birth without medical intervention.

a large unit

556

births from Apr 2014 to Apr 2015

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3

Birthing rooms available

  • Epidural
  • Birth pools available
  • Special Care Unit (SCU)

Pain-relief options

  • Entonox (gas and air)
  • Diamorphine
  • Meptid
  • Morphine sulphate (Oramorph)
  • Pethidine
  • Remifentanil
  • Epidural
  • Birth pool
Find out more about pain relief during labour

Having a baby here

During labour and birth

  • If you arrive in the early stages of labour
    • You'll be seen by a midwife who will check the progress of your labour
    • You'll be encouraged to go home
    • There's an area where you can be assessed
    • You can have a bath or use a birth pool if available
    • You can be admitted to the antenatal ward
    • You can be admitted to the delivery suite/birthing room
    • All rooms en suite
  • Birthing rooms
    • 3 Birthing room(s)
    • 1 Birth pool(s)
      • 0 Inflatable birth pool(s)
      • 1 Plumbed-in birth pool(s)
  • Birth partners
    • You can have the following number of birth partners with you during labour: 2

Birth facilities

  • Aromatherapy service
  • Bean bags
  • Birth balls
  • Birth mats
  • Birthing couch
  • Dimmable lighting
  • iPod dock
  • Reclining chair
  • Supporting rope or sling
  • TENS machine
  • Rocking chair

After you've given birth

  • Private postnatal rooms
    • Amenity rooms are not available.
  • Provision for partners staying overnight
    • Partners can stay on the postnatal ward on a reclining chair
    • Partners can stay in a room with you on a reclining chair
  • Your stay after you've given birth
    • After you have given birth you'll be transferred to a bed in the postnatal area
    • Women who've had an uncomplicated birth usually stay for 6-24 hours after the birth
    • If you're transferred to the labour ward during the birth you can't come back to the birth centre postnatally
  • Contact & visitor information

How many midwives will I meet?

The maximum number of different midwives you're likely to see for antenatal appointments is 2 and for postnatal appointments it's 2.

You'll see the same midwives throughout your pregnancy and after your baby is born, but different midwives when you're in labour.

40% of women who book with the service live out of hospital catchment area

Find out about the benefits of knowing your midwife

Who can give birth here?

  • This birth centre/midwife-led unit is the default option for low risk women at this hospital
  • Eligibility
    • Baby must be head down
    • You can discuss having your baby here, even if you don't fit the following criteria.
    • Can be Group B Strep positive
    • Straightforward pregnancy
    • Straightforward previous pregnancies
    • Only having one baby in this pregnancy (eg no twins)
    • BMI between 18 and 29.0
    • Aged between 18 and 39 years old
    • Between 37 and 42 weeks pregnant
    • Maximum of 5 previous babies
    • See https://www.royalfree.nhs.uk/services/services-a-z/maternity-services/maternity-care-at-the-royal-free-hospital/health-birth-centre/ for eligibility criteria
  • Catchment area
    • Women who live within the catchment area: Parts of Camden, Barnet and Brent
    • You can give birth here even if you don't live in the catchment area

Support services

  • Accessibility
    • Wheelchair access to the wards and delivery suite
    • Limited mobility: Disabled access to all areas
    • Hearing problems: Sign language interpreters
    • Sight problems: Braille translation
    • Learning disabilities: There is a specialist team of midwives who provide care for vulnerable women. A family care plan will be organised and shared with people involved in your care.
    • Autism spectrum: There is a specialist team of midwives who provide care for vulnerable women. A family care plan will be organised and shared with people involved in your care.
  • Interpreting service
    • The interpreting service exists for patients who speak little or no English and patients who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and require communication support. All interpreting, both face-to-face and telephone interpreting is provided to the trust by external providers. Interpreting services available include telephone interpreting, face-to-face interpreting, British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters, Sign Support English (SSE) interpreter, Lip speaker and British touch sign interpreters and Braille translation
  • Specialist midwifery teams
    • Antenatal Screening
    • Bereavement
    • Diabetes
    • Infant feeding
    • Perinatal mental health
    • Substance misuse
    • Teenage pregnancy
    • Vulnerable women
    • Fetal Medicine/Infectious Diseases and Haemoglobinopathies Specialist Midwife

Women's experiences

Reviews of this hospital

Source: Care Opinion
  • Incredible birth experience - thank you Royal Free

    We have not long returned home after giving birth to our little girl, Margot at the Royal Free and can not be more grateful to the Maternity team at the Royal Free. From the beginning our midwife...

    by Anonymous, 12 Nov 2018

    Read on Care Opinion
  • Rude from the get go

    Just did a self-referral for antenatal care. I have never had my period since before my first pregnancy (I was breastfeeding a lot) so I was concerned I'm months in! Called up the number indicated...

    by Anonymous, 23 Aug 2018

    Read on Care Opinion
Source: CQC

Care Quality Commission (CQC) Maternity Services Survey 2015

Scores are for the NHS Trust that this hospital is part of.

  • Labour and birth

  • Staff

  • Care in hospital after birth

  • Labour and birth

    8.3/10

    Worse compared with other trusts

  • Staff

    8.4/10

    About the same compared with other trusts

  • Care in hospital after birth

    7.5/10

    About the same compared with other trusts

General information

  • Tours
  • Non-NHS Care
    • Private maternity care isn't available here.
  • Breastfeeding accreditation
  • Neonatal care
    • Special care unit (SCU) provides neonatal care for babies in the local area who need extra support but who don't require high dependency care.
  • Food for partners out-of-hours
    • There is a selection of vending machines located throughout the hospital in the maternity department, A&E and theatres departments as well as in the Foodhouse restaurant. These serve hot and cold beverages, soups and snacks including a healthy option.
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  • Contact information
  • How to book once you're pregnant
    Via your GP
    Book directly from 10 weeks of pregnancy
    • Booking phone number: 020 7794 0500 ext 36169
    • If in labour call: 020 7794 0500 ext 33849 or ext 33850
    Book online
  • Outside space
    • There is no outside space available for women in labour
  • Visiting information
    • Your nominated partner can visit 24 hours but all other visitors between 2-8pm
  • Car parking for women in labour
    • There are reduced parking rates for women in labour
    • no special arrangements
  • Parking
    • £6 per day when in labour
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