Best way to take wife in labour to St Georges Hospital from Wimbledon, London?
September 5, 2010 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Best way to take wife in labour to St Georges Hospital from Wimbledon, London? I don't have a car so I could rent streetcar but how long will I be there -- could be expensive and there's problems with parking etc... Take a cab maybe? Would minicabs or black cabs deliver women in labour to hospital -- I can imagine they might be concerned perhaps? Coming back we'll need to have a car seat of course so I need to be sure that the return journey supports the kind of baby car seat we are looking to get (ISOFIX?). Ambulance -- of course when there's an emergency :)
posted by to Travel & Transportation around London, England (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take a cab. Early labor, particularly if this is your first child, typically lasts for hours -- the movie /tv version where her water breaks and then she's instantly in screaming labor is really unlikely. (Mind you, it happened to me. But even then, it was four hours before I delivered the baby.) Much more likely, it'll just be a regular uncomfortable car ride. As for the car seat, basically any kind of carseat can be installed in any kind of car with a reasonable back seat, and you'll have the time and leisure to make sure of it with the cab company.

If you want to do something now for planning to help stave off a worrying possibility, pick up some disposable, absorbent undergarments (or "adult diapers"); a common brand in the US is "Depends," but I don't know about the UK. IF her water breaks before you go to the hospital, which I want to stress is unlikely, she can slip on a pair of these and avoid leaking amniotic fluid in a hired car. They're inexpensive, and they'll be useful in the few days after birth for the lochia no matter what.
posted by KathrynT at 11:23 AM on September 5, 2010

Labor isn't instant. You'll probably hang out at home for hours/days. Your OB would probably request that you show up at hospital when you're X minutes apart in contractions. 8? 5? I don't remember.
posted by k8t at 11:30 AM on September 5, 2010

Cab idea is good for two reasons:

1. St. Georges is off the main road and for first time drivers and at night it may not be the easiest way to get there while keeping your stress levels down.

2. Georges parking lot is crazy and expensive and depending on the time of day you may not find a spot and unloading her at the main entrance and going and finding a sopt may not be an option.

Do follow the advice of your midwife about when to ge there because getting there too early only disrupts the system and they wont know what to do with you. Good luck!
posted by london302 at 11:59 AM on September 5, 2010

We had a similar problem with our first child (no car, living in London) but were able to have a relative drop us off and pick us up. I would strongly recommend against booking a car club car (which we did consider) not just for the parking, but because you'll have no idea how long you'll need to book it for. Hospital parking is eye-wateringly expensive, although at ours (Queen Charlotte's) you did get a 24hr free permit for the birth.

For what it's worth, my contractions started on the Friday night - father-in-law rocketed over to our house 'just in case' - but my daughter wasn't born until the early hours on Tuesday morning and the poor man spent most of the weekend on our sofa. From what I hear this kind of time-frame isn't at all unusual for first-time mums.

Also, have you considered having the baby at home? If the pregnancy is straightforward your midwife will almost certainly be supportive. And, as you say, if there's even the inkling of an emergency they'll whisk you off to hospital (in an ambulance).

This is what we're planning on doing for our second (due over Christmas) all being well.
posted by dogsbody at 1:54 PM on September 5, 2010

[A couple comments removed; one off-hand mention of an alternative in an otherwise on-topic answer is okayish but let's not have a sidebar discussion about home birthing in here please.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:46 PM on September 5, 2010

I actually just went through this process on Monday, so it's still very fresh in my mind. I would definitely recommend going the cab route. Our doctor suggested heading to the hospital when the contractions are about 5 minutes apart. Even at this point, you are just reaching the beginning of "active" labour, so you still have plenty of time to make it to the hospital safely. In our case, after the contractions were 5 minutes apart, we headed over to the hospital, and it was still another 13 hours before our daughter made her entrance into the world.

I think the main point, is that labour moves along much more slowly (especially if it is your first child) than you think. The whole "Cabby, take us to the hospital, and step on it! This woman is having a baby!" mainly occurs in the movies.

Best of luck with the whole process.
posted by EvilPRGuy at 6:11 PM on September 5, 2010

Thanks all! Once again the MeFi is awesomely relevant and timely. You all rock.
posted by at 2:42 AM on September 6, 2010

Definitely a cab, but assuming you're not in South Wimbledon make sure the cabbie takes you the back route - via Plough Lane and Blackshaw Road - which is almost always quicker than going via the frequently traffic-clogged High Street through Colliers Wood. Any decent local cabbie should know this, but just in case...
posted by Decani at 6:17 AM on September 6, 2010

Since nobody's addressed the question of getting home with the ISOFIX car seat, I should point out that some seats will fit an ISOFIX base but can also be secured using a regular seat belt. We have the Maxi-Cosi Cambrio (pretty popular in UK & Ireland), and it can be secured with a seatbelt, without a base, for one-off journeys. If that doesn't work, I know most new cars in the EU are fitted with ISOFIX as standard, so a new minicab should do it, not sure whether black cabs have the mounting points.
posted by pines at 11:30 PM on September 6, 2010

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