Dr Rahul Sen is a practising obstetrician at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick Sydney. He is also an obstetrician at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital.
About the Royal Hospital for Women
The Royal Hospital for Women is a public maternity hospital, which also accepts bookings from private patients. The advantages of this hospital are that the quality of post-natal midwifery care is sometimes better and more consistent than at Prince of Wales Private Hospital, because the RHW relies less heavily on non-midwifery staff on the post-natal wards. This can be important because many first time mums experience greater difficulty with feeding and settling than with the birth.
RHW has 24 hour on-site operating theatre staff, and has dedicated theatre midwives who will usually assist you to initiate breast-feeding in the recovery ward of the operating theatre, if you have a caesarean section. The hospital has a neonatal intensive care unit, if your baby is born before 34 weeks gestation, or has major medical problems. The hospital has better facilities for women with major mental health problems, including major anxiety and depression.
You may be more likely to be given a single room from your first night at RHW, depending on your level of cover. This may be important for you, as it means your partner can stay with you, which in turn may be helpful, as there are no night nursery facilities. The hospital is often more flexible if you need en extended stay or readmission, and there is facility for early discharge on the Midwifery Support Programme (MSP), where midwives will come to visit you at home if you leave hospital early.
The disadvantages of RHW are that the rooms are in need of refurbishment. The hospital is less supportive of elective caesarean section on request, and is generally less well geared towards private patients. The food is not as good, and meal times are in a communal dining room, which some private patients dislike. You need to bring more of your own things, such as nappies. There is a frustrating tendency at RHW for your private obstetrician to be called too late for the delivery. If your pregnancy is normal you will not be allowed to have an induction of labour until you are 8 days overdue. Please be aware that in neither hospital is a single room guaranteed from your first night.
I hope that this helps with your choice of hospitals. It is something that we can discuss further at your booking visit. Parking reminder: when you come in to hospital to have your baby please remember to buy a 5 day car park pass, as this will reduce your parking cost significantly.