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Expat Health Insurance & Healthcare Guide to UK

Expats share their experiences with healthcare and expat health insurance in UK.

Share Your Healthcare Experiences Share Your Childbirth Experiences

NHS and UK Health Insurance

healthcare tips

Are you eligible for coverage under UK's National Health Service (NHS)? Do you also need expat health insurance? This article provides an overview.

Written By

Joshua Wood, Expat Exchange
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Having a Baby in Chipping Norton, UK

This was my second birth in the UK. My first prenatal care was all with the Chipping Norton Midwives and we intended to have them assist us in a home birth. However, after 20plus hrs of labour, they suggested I be transfered to the Horton Hospital in Banbury. There I was induced and delivered in 6 hrs with help of gas and air, and later meptid. The consultant was very eager to take charge and prep me for a c-section, but we refused. We left hospital ASAP as it felt very impersonal and well, just not home!

My second pregnancy was also through the Chipping Norton midwives. Again, we wanted to have a home birth and the midwives were fully supportive. Home births here receive the same treatment as in a midwife led unit (same pain relief options, positions, and support), except when you are in labour the midwife can't just leave to look in on someone else or do anything else! A second midwife comes when the birth is near.

The second birth was only 5 hrs long. No pain relief was needed - I was home, safe, confident and comfortable! We also used hypnobirthing which one of the midwives had taught us. Our baby was born in a birthing pool and after a brief celebration, the midwives tucked us into our own bed! It was magical.

Having a Baby in York, UK

Aidan was my first child and was premature by 5 weeks.

I had had regular checks with the midwife at my local clinic, and had just finished all three of the pre-natal classes at the hospital.

When my waters broke I was in hospital for 4 days before Aidan was born. Had very good treatment (own room!!), good food. Very nice staff. It was a calm, relaxing area as rooms for mums-to-be are kept separate (by a corridor) from new mums.

Birth plan was written while I was in labour.

It wasn't followed as we discussed, but ok.

Pain relief: They wanted to keep me on my back for the baby heart monitor, but I was having all back labour and pushed for me to try different positions, which they allowed with some grumbling. I started on codeine, tried gas & air, but didn't like it. I had a shot of meptid, which allowed me to relax between contractions. Had the shot to help birth the placenta, which happened very quickly!

Ended up with a 3rd degree tear, was advised to have a spinal to ensure good stitching. Excellent midwife, who stayed with me during birth and after birth, stayed on after her shift was over to hold my hand during the spinal.

Aidan was in SCBU (special care baby unit) for 9 days. I went home after 2 days, but went back to the hospital after 3 days to stay with Aidan in SCBU's rooms on the ward. Here parents are allowed to take their children out of the ward (but still attached to it). Aidan had jaundice for 1.5 days and lost some wegiht. He came home weighing 4 lb. 12 oz., but gained weight within 2 days.

Overall, although a whirlwind because he was premature, it was a very good experience and I would feel comfortable giving birth at York Hospital again.

Having a Baby in Chipping Norton, UK

I chose to go to a midwife facility with no doctor present. They only accepted me if I met the criteria of being low-risk, and emergency transfer to nearby hospital would be arranged if necessary. It was a very positive experience -- much more personal and more open-minded than the US. I labored in bath water, using aroamatherapy oils (which are also used at the local hospital). I did not have a water birth and gave bith in a bed. The after care was excellent. I stayed in the facility for 1 week. I was visited by a midwife in my home every other day, until they felt completely confident that all was well with me, my baby and my family.

Having a Baby in London, UK


-Induced (baby 11 days late)
-26 hours of labour then emergency caesarian
-tens machine
-gas and air
-epidurals (4)
-Stayed three days, wanted me to stay 2 weeks
-'prescribed' Guiness for anemia
-Stitches removed at home
-baby umbilical cord clamp done at home
-home visits every day for two weeks
-home visits every week for months
-monthly checks at home or clinic until -child is 5 yrs old
-Excellent and free antenantal birthing and postnatal parenting classes and exercise courses
-all in the team who cared for me and the baby were open to any sort of birth plan provided all went ok.

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