Public v’s Private hospital birth

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    I have both my babies in OLOL under public care, had both tricky pregnancies and even tricker sections. (2005 and 2008)

    I cant fault the staff or the hospital, i bf both my boys and had brilliant support and time given to me. I had a bedbath withinn a few hours withinn a few hours of their birth, but i have heard other mothers saying they were left in bloody sheets for hours and hours…

    I do think its the luck of the draw, conditions on the day, what mood the staff are in, how rushed/over worked they are etc etc..

    Dont see the point paying for private care when its the only time in Ireland that you get equal care for FREE


    Hi all,

    After last nights discussion on TV3’s Midweek show, we would like to know what YOU think about the various birth choices in Ireland.

    Is it worth going private, is it worth the money?

    Is public just as good and the better choice as it does not involve the expense?

    What do you think….and how can our maternity services be improved?


    Hi there,

    I went private on both my babies and did not regret it at all. Yes, you get the same midwives when you actually go into the hospital. All going well, you will not need a consultant at all. It is very expensive – but if you have VHI and you have the family plan, it will cover a fair bit of it.

    I was 35 and 37 having my babies – considered an older mother!!! For that reason alone, I decided to go private. The service I got was great. I did still have to wait in the private clinic – consultants are always on call, and always late!!!!

    Anyhow, my consultant was present and necessary at both births. She arrived in to say hi. On ds, I was in the process of delivery – he would of been born in another 10 – 15mins but he decided to go asleep. His heart rate started to drop – the consultant walked in at this time and the midwife asked her opinion. She immediately took over – told me he would have to be delivered immediately before he went to sleep. He did have a forceps delivery but was out with one push and unmarked.

    On dd, she walked in just after the birth. I had told the midwives that I was feeling a gushing sensation, they decided to put in a catather. She arrived in, was told of the situation and said no to the catather. She knew exactly what was wrong and had me sorted in minutes. Those few minutes were very hard going, rougher than the birth. Dd had been born so fast, that my body had not caught up and had started to bleed. Anyhow, I was sorted and the next day did not even feel like I had given birth, I was that fully recovered.

    My opinion would be that if you are young and fit – I would definatley go for the MLU. If you are older and there is any possibility of complications – make sure you have the right insurance in place and go private.


    Agree with the above. What each person decides is very personal & everyone has a reason for choosing each option. There is no right or wrong. Personally I went private on first & am currently private on 2nd. Have been very happy both times. Needed emergency section first time & gynae (the one I had paid!) was there advising & preformed surgery, midwifes were fantastic (which are obviously part of the public system) & saw my own Gynae every day after for 5 days while in hospital (& in my private room that I got straight away) so couldn’t have been happier with standard of care.

    In saying all that i’m sure there are women who have had the same standard of service in the public system as i’ve had, I just wasn’t comfortable with taking the chance.

    Anyone i’ve spoken to about the MLU can’t rate it highly enough & it’s a great service to have on our doorstep, however it just isn’t for me.

    So to conclude, it may have cost me €2,500 but to me I certainly feel I got my moneys worth so to speak & think it was money well spent…in my case anyway!


    Its different for everyone, I guess the discussion opened up talk about different hospitals and what they offer and what their policies are. Its good to look into what the different policies are – there can be quite nig differences between hospitals.

    For eg, some hospitals have excellent VBAC (Vaginal birth after c-section) policies and their success rates are very high but other hospitals have NO VBAC policies and therefore, their success rates are very low. If this is an area that affects you, it is good to know what the hospital will do to accommodate your birth plan.

    Same goes for partners – twice my husband was sent home or to wait in reception while I was in labour and this was distressing for me. This is something worth looking into – it can be traumatic to have your birth partner sent away when you need him/her.

    Healthy mun & baby is the main objective but a nice birth with happy memories; one where the mums feels looked after and respected and her partner included, is the ideal.

    Can’t believe we’ll be doing this again in a few months – so exciting!

    mrs ck

    hi all i had my first baby last september privatly in daisy hill hospital and i believe it was worth every penny. It was very expensive i have to admit but the care is second to none. i had a scan on every appointment, 14 I think. i was took in early for every appointment compared to having to wait. i honestly have no complaints and would do it all again tomorrow.


    For anyone who missed the show last night, here is the link:


    I guess it depends on so many factors.
    My babies were in 2002, 2004 and 2006, so my experience is quite old.
    2 differents hospitals: Rotunda and OLOL drogheda,
    went public each time.
    I had the opposite of what happens in general, went public but because of lack of room or i don’t know what, I end-up in 2004 in a semi-private room but in prenatal ward, was with a new mum as well.

    Can’t complain, midwifes were great, helped a lot with breastfeeding. Even on my second breastfesd baby I did not know how to do it, was as lost as a first time mum and they took the time with me.
    I guess it wasn’t too many babies at the same time.
    And that’s a factor you can’t control, how babies will it be in the delivery room, ward and all at the same time.
    We all know babies can come few days early or late.

    But now there is less staff, more babies, so I guess I would not have the same attention. The care is always the same, they do as much as they can and even more. They are great with emergencies.

    In 2002 it was a very difficult delivery ( in a way, had emergency C-section), my mum and husband were with me, I was in Ireland 7 months.
    Was actually thinking of it today.
    My husband was on my bedside when it all went wrong, along with so many hospital staff that my mum steped aside, sat on a chair and waited worriyng, panicking reading parts of monitors. And then a lady hospital staff cleaning tables from lunch, saw my mum desperate to have me sorted and well again. And then she brought her tea (best comfort food) and told her how great the doctors were and she had to relax. She made sure she was ok. Now I can’t imagine any staff member in hospital having time to make sure that you can cope with what is thrown at you, either as a patient or relatives.

    So when you make your choice, get recent experiences and ask questions about the facilities in a particular hospital. Can’t say public or private is better it all depends on the hospital who’ll go.



    I went Private on both Births in OLOL – 1998 AND 2001

    On first baby there was complications and baby ended up in Special Care – i was glad of Private Room at the stage. I ended up coming home without Baby and visted for feeds the whole time for about 10 days after birth.. Very healthy 13 yr old now..

    Second Baby was a quick Labour – again i had a private room.

    Consultant was present at both births – In second birth half way through pregnancy Consultant was very ill and a replacement was got.

    Had both very happy experiences in the Our Lady of Lourdes


    i had a horrific time during my pregnancy, and during my stay at hospital and what is worse is i paid for it. next time i’d look into having the baby at home.


    I had 5 births as a public patient in Our Lady of Lourdes. I had one emergency section, 1 natural delivery, and 3 planned sections. Each birth was completly different but I found I had excellent care from my gynecologist on each pregnancy. On my 5th it was my 4th section and by nature a little more risky…I was also 36. My gynecologist was excellent. During the pregnancy I was large for dates and lots of fluid around the baby. This could indicate problems and I had a daughter with special needs. To reassure me and also to ensure the baby was okay I had extra scans done where the blood flow was checked especially around the brain as I wasn’t sure if my daughters condition was genetic or a one off. I was totally reassured by the care I got. When in for my section I took a very bad reaction to the anestetic and again, the counsultant anesthesiologists and my gynecologist were both there in a matter of seconds to assist with a good outcome.

    The biggest difference I would imagine is getting a private room after the birth. However, on a postive note I have appreciated the company of other women especially when you are up doing the night feeds and exhausted. If the baby blues kick in its also good to have other women, who have also given birth, to talk to. On most occassions I found the women in wards are supportive to each other.

    When I was in on my first baby in 1995 compared to my last baby in 2008 the biggest difference is overcrowding. The same wards cope with so many more women now. There is also no nursery now which has been the case for many years. I feel this is a big issue especially for women who have had surgery. They need rest after surgery and in my own case I couldnt even get out of bed or pick up my crying baby which is very frustrating. Years ago they took my baby for the first night, I got a good nights sleep and the baby was brought in to me for feeding. It gave me a chance to get over the birth (one night made allthe difference). And if a baby was very unsettled or a mum exhausted nurses could put the babies in the nursery to give mum a break. I feel the nursery played a valualbe role in supporting mums and while I appreciate baby being with mum is best practice some mums are too exhausted to cope and need sleep.

    Another point with regard to food as a public patient. I found the ladies very good and accomodating when I was feeding my baby and didnt want to eat certain foods that may be too spicy etc. I usually stuck to plain foods in the early days.


    i was given great care during my labour going public and also had many scans during my pg…due to being high risk after IVF but only thing i was disappinted with was aftercare in ward…but i dont think that would of made a difference whether i was public or private..left in bloody sheets for 4 days and told to pull curtains round when breastfeeding so as not to upset mum next to me who was struggling to feed her baby (which i know is tough but it was also tough on me hearing her tell every1 how easy her birth had been when mine had been so hard)….i had a 3rd degree tear & had job to move 🙁 so getting out of bed to pull curtains each time DS wanted a feed was not easy… was all down to lack of staff but i have to say i felt bottom of pile in that ward & couldnt wait to go home…

    but would go public againfor sure as I think that was just circumstances..& wd take change of sheets for myself next time!!! & definately not expect any support on the ward but as for the birth itself I dont believe there isany difference….


    I have to admit again I went in for my 5th baby I had much more confidence and would ask if I had a problem with anything. There is a ‘silly’ health and safety rule where mums cant have babies in their beds with them… like hello…..when breastfeeding thats where babies spend a lot of time??? I had big issues with this policy but stood my ground, kept the baby in the bed (remember I couldnt get out of bed yet) and put 2 chairs up against the side rail as an ‘extra’ precaution. Simple solution, have beds that are suitable for breastfeeding mums keeping babies in bed with them.

    Privacy when feeding is a big issue as at times the visitors in the ward made it get to bursting point. We had some good nurses who put the foot down on visitors and while it may seem harsh if someone has 10 people round their bed and your trying to feed your child itcan be tough going when they are literally coming through the curtains with their chairs pushing back to make more room their side. 😕

    My own partner was great for taking time off work to mind me and the baby while we were in hospital as we knew I would be in the bed for the first day and yet would still have the baby. He came up real early to help me with the baby and left really late. Only for this I wouldn’t have coped.

    The biggest issue I had was with the beds for women who had sections. On other occassions I had a ‘proper’ bed with at least a handgrip or an electric bed that you could raise the head to make getting up easier after a section. But now its just a plain old bed without even the grip that used to hang down from the top of the bed to pull yourself up. This made it so much harder to get moving again….couldn’tunderstand this at all….a big step backwards.

    Nothing is perfect but in the years from 1995 – 2008 I definately saw a decline in the aftercare for mums, with more patients and no extra rooms, no nursery, less nurses, a much shorter stay. On my first c-section 14days was normal, now its 3-4days.


    wow 14days in hospital!!! but i suppose it was different in those days with the nursery & extra care of mums…still seems long time but much needed i expect by some mums…


    I had both of my babies on the public system in OLOL – 2008 & 2010. I found the care during pregnancy to be fine. I did combined care so had alternating visits to The Louth and my GP. This suited me. I paid for 1 or 2 private scans during both pregnancies for my own peace of mind but was given extra on the public system too due to a low-lying placenta.

    Both births were fine – I had complications on both but the midwife (same one both times – yay!) was excellent and there were no issues in the end. Midwives and nuring staff in the delivery rooms are great.

    The aftercare I got in OLOL in 2008 was brilliant. I was the only BF mammy in a ward of 6 so had the nursery nurse to myself practically for two whole nights. She was amazing and really encouraged me.

    I found that the standard of postnatal care had dropped significantly by 2010 unfortunately. I could tell some horror stories I guess, but am trying to blank them out. I’ve been told that they were very busy there the week I gave birth and that there’s a baby boom on, but 2008 was a big baby boom year too. I also try to reason that they may not have been as concerned as I was a second-timer but I hope that’s not the case either.

    Anyway, hoping to go again and, weighing everything up, I will go to OLOL again, on the public system. However, I feel much more confident that I will stand up for myself a bit more next time!

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