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Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge: VIP birth experience

By Sylvia Wakhisi | July 20th 2013

Giving birth is a special experience for every woman. And when the big day finally arrives, one would wish to be accorded that special treatment as she welcomes her bundle of joy.

Britain’s Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, has just given birth to her first child royalty style.

The Duchess gave birth naturally to her and Prince William’s first child suggesting that she was definitely not ‘too posh to push’.

Like the late Princess Diana before her, the Duchess of Cambridge has choose to have her baby at the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, West London — where staying in a private suite for a natural birth is likely to cost up to £10,000(Sh410,000).

The internationally renowned Lindo Wing is known for its top range treatment with top chefs on hand to whip up whatever a client fancies.

Deluxe rooms or a suite are available on request - and each one is fitted with a satellite TV, wi-fi, a radio, a safe, bedside phone and fridge.

The wing also offers a ‘comprehensive wine list’ and bottles can be chilled in the suite’s fridge.

A choice of daily newspapers and a fresh bouquet of flowers are delivered every day and blackout curtains ensure total privacy.

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The wing provides expert consultant-led obstetric, neonatal care and anaesthetist care with 24-hour access to Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s state-of-the-art maternal and foetal specialist services.

Treated like a queen

It’s no doubt that Kate was treated like a queen through every step of the royal baby’s birth, and her post-natal suite will be no different.

After giving birth, she was moved to the post-natal room where she rested in luxury.

A newly refurbished post-natal room in the Lindo Wing with a “clean, classic modern hotel feel” which includes a bathroom, safe, fridge, satellite television, bedside phone and a fully reclining chair for Prince William has apparently been set aside for Kate, on a different floor than other new mothers in the wing.

Well, that’s Britain for you, what’s  on offer in Kenya for mothers who want VIP care?

At the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), for example, the purpose built Maternity and newborn unit located in the Jimmy Sayani Building offers seven ensuite individual labour and delivery rooms equipped with flexible delivery beds and facilities for monitoring the condition of mother and baby.

One labour and delivery suite has a built in birthing pool should a mother opt for a water birth.

According to Susan Mbugua, clinical nurse/midwife at AKUH, water birth is becoming popular among African mothers and many women have described it as a rewarding birth experience. At the hospital, two to three women opt for a water birth every month.

“A water birth helps to lessen the pain during labour hence it is gentle and less stressful to an expectant mother and her baby,” says Mbugua.

“The water in the tub is normally kept warm and as labour progresses, a mother can choose to deliver while in the water or outside on the delivery bed.”

The unit also has special monitoring equipment for mothers with medical complications such as pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure). There is also a maternity theatre in the case of an emergency.

After the birth, accommodation options include four bedded shared bays each with a bathroom, two bed (duplex) rooms with bathrooms and fully private ensuite rooms.

Another option for moms is the Princess Zahra Pavilion which offers the choice of three room options: standard rooms, VIP rooms and executive suites.

“The executive suite provides an ideal environment for any mother who has just had her baby to recover well and is also meant to make her feel that she is at home-away from home,” says Susan Wasunna, administrative assistant Princess Zahra Pavilion.

Luxury birthing suite

According to Wasunna, the executive suite is open to everyone, as long as one can afford the charges, which are about Sh40,000 per day.

The elegance of the rooms with beautiful granite floors and a connecting spacious oak floored lounge with all facilities that one could dream of.

The executive suite is fitted with wireless internet, elegant and modern décor, telephone, satellite TV, both bath tub and shower, fridge, centralised air conditioning, a digital safe, a cupboard for storing clothes, fully serviced bedside cabinet and advanced nurse call and monitoring systems.

Patients are provided with alacarte menu, catered to meet their unique medical and nutritional needs, the executive business centre, which offers secretarial, services; and access to the common patients’ lounge where one can relax and socialise with other patients. Other supporting services to patients and their visitors include hair salon, gift and flower shop, plaza café, transport and international banking services.

At the Nairobi Hospital, for VIP birth, there is the North Wing ward, also referred to as the presidential wing which is a deluxe classified ward.

 There are six spacious self-contained rooms, with the ground floor rooms opening to the garden where patients can relax and exercise while the upstairs rooms open to the balcony.

Each room has a comfortable sitting area with a TV, telephone, a wardrobe, a writing desk and a couch. Each patient is supplied with a daily newspaper of their choice, a fruit basket, soft drinks of their choice and unless on diet, patient choose food from the alarcarte menu.

So are there mothers willing to enjoy such treatment?

Courtney Akinyi, 42, a high-flying corporate lady who is due in a few weeks, says she is going for nothing less than royalty service.

“I have waited for this for so long and I said when it will come, I will go for the best because I can afford it. It’s good to enjoy the fine things in life too, especially during a special moment like delivery,” she says without apologies.

Celebrated Kenyan songstress Wahu Kagwi says such experiences are good for any mother-to-be.

Wahu, who is due in August, says she has not yet decided on where to deliver her baby but when it comes to the birthing option, she may opt for an epidural.

“What I do not want to have is an elective caesarean section. I would rather go for a natural birth and choose the epidural as a pain relief method,” she says.

“I have experienced the VIP birthing experience in one of our local hospitals and it was a good feeling for every mother and her new born. It creates a special bond between the mother and child and enables her to recover in a quiet and serene environment. I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again,” says the celebrity.

When it comes to comparing the facilities and experience offered both locally and in western countries, Professor William Stones, Chair Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aga Khan University Hospital, says in western countries there is quite a wide range of demand for different types of birthing experience.

“Home birth is preferred by some, with around three per cent of UK births taking place at home. These are normally pre-planned with midwives and typically two midwives will attend the birth. In Holland home birth is even more popular,” says Stones.


He adds: “An increasingly popular option in the UK is the ‘midwife led birthing unit’. Often these are located within a hospital but physically separated from the main maternity unit. They aim to provide as normal a birthing experience as possible- but if complications develop, because they are very close to the main maternity unit, transfer to emergency facilities is very easy.”

On the other hand, most European and North American hospitals that provide maternity care now offer a range of care and pain relief options.

In the US, water birth is not common in hospitals and epidurals are very popular. In the UK all maternity units offer water birth but epidurals (an injection into a person’s back that


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