Delivery Room Showdown: Who Gives Birth Better — Americans or Brits?

Photo: ABC News
Photo: ABC News

Not sure about y’all, but with so much attention on Kate Middleton and the impending arrival of the royal baby, it’s hard to focus on anything but the Duchess and her due date. While the Lindo Wing and an expert staff of doctors, nurses and security staff prep for her much buzzed about delivery and, consequently, the most important moment of their lives, across the pond we’re wishing we could experience the royal birthing treatment.

But just how different is Kate’s labor expected to be from our very own customs? We’re getting to the bottom of it in a Battle of the Births: United Kingdom versus the United States.

Check it out:

Inside the delivery room

The Brits

A British midwife sat down with ABC News to give us the inside scoop on what the Lindo Wing actually looks like — from the inside. Regina Curran said, “It’s a beautiful unit. It’s got all the facilities that any woman would need in labor. She’s going to be very comfortable and very well looked after.”

Each room in the Lindo Wing is decked out with a satellite television, radio, safe (yes, really), a bedside telephone, Internet access and a fridge. Additionally, patients also have their choice of a daily newspaper each morning during their stay, ripe right off the presses. A dedicated hotel service team also provides a thoroughly nutritious menu that caters to the dietary habits and restrictions of each patient. Wines are also served to new parents as well as a champagne toast in honor of their child’s arrival. Odds are that Kate’s stay could run up the meter to at least $15,659.

The Americans

Labor and delivery units are not as posh and luxe as the push room’s that serve as a first quarters for a future heir. That said, they’re still stuffed with all the necessities. Across the nation, hospitals’ get a face-lift when the money is available, so don’t expect your room to be too dated (or too top-of-the-line). Since it’s a royal tradition, Kate’s probably toured the Lindo Wing ahead of time to see exactly what she’s in for. As an expectant mom, pre-stay hospital tours are encouraged and often, they help expectant parents decide whether or not they’ll book their baby’s birth.

A US based mom said at her hospital, her room came “decked out with fold out beds for partners, on demand movies (even some still in theaters), cookie/tea time, in-house spa or spa staff that comes to your room, overhead hospital wide lullabies played after the baby is born, gardens, online games, and a lot more. The only thing missing was the champagne after birth.”

Prenatal care

The Brits

In Great Britain, all prenatal care and birthing is provided free. That’s F-R-E-E. Even though Duchess Catherine has opted for two obstetricians for her delivery, most women in the United Kingdom actually deliver with a midwife present.

The Americans

Spoiler alert! The USA does not boast free prenatal care or births for women residing within our borders. Upon these shores, prenatal care and delivery costs can range from about $9,000 to over $250,000 (quite a range, huh?). However, there are a few ways to cut costs. If you have insurance provided by your employer and if your company employs at least 15 full-time people, your insurance company must provide maternity services. Typically, prenatal and maternity costs are covered by your insurance carrier (between 25 and 90 percent of costs), but it comes down to which plan you have. To stay ahead of any potential curve balls, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

Stay in-network when it comes to making appointments and scheduling services; it will help you avoid out-of-pocket costs. Keep a close eye on your insurance plan: know your deductible, copay and out-of-pocket maximums before you head to the doctors. It’ll help you budget and you’ll know what your estimated totals will be. Avoid staying too long after birth. Make sure you know how long you’re allotted stay is. Once the timer runs out on that, you’ll have to start paying — and it’s expensive!

The push!

The Brits

Get this: Women in the U.K. tend to place an emphasis in the natural approach. As the Duchess plans to do, most women deliver without the help of drugs. Curran said, “We aim for … natural childbirth as much as possible, with as little intervention as possible.” Once labor begins, hospitals actually encourage women to use as little pain medication if all — if they have to use any. Most try to avoid it. In fact, patients are rarely offered an epidural. Instead, women use laughing gas or birthing tubs in order to reduce pain for the mum.

The Americans

Epidurals tend to be a bit more common here in the states (and there’s nothing wrong with that!). According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 50% of women giving birth in a hospital use epidural anesthesia. As for C-sections, the rate in America is nearly three times higher than in the United Kingdom, however, over the years, C-section rates have actually dropped down to 33 percent of all births (phew!).

Do you think the U.K’s policies are better than the United States?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Saving Up for a Baby

Top 10 Labor & Delivery Fears

51 Easy Ways to Save Up for Baby