ABC News’ Jean-Nicholas Fievet reports:
It may be where the future king or queen will be born, but St. Mary’s Hospital in London is a far cry from the splendor of Buckingham Palace, where Prince Charles was born, or the grand London home where the queen was born.
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ABC News understands that Kate plans to give birth at the hospital’s Lindo Wing. The wing may not have the luxury of a royal palace, but it has a deserved reputation for clinical excellence and quiet professionalism. Unlike some other private maternity hospitals in London, it has critical and specialist care units in case there are complications.
Almost 4,000 babies are born at St. Mary’s every year and, of those, about 600 are delivered in the Lindo Wing. It’s where Princess Diana gave birth to princes William and Harry.
Moms-to-be take a small, slightly cramped elevator up to the delivery floor.
Inside, it doesn’t look much different than a New York City hospital maternity unit. Rooms are very simply furnished. In fact, they’re not really furnished at all besides a bed and a chair.
Every room has a TV, WiFi, a tiny fridge, a safe and an in-suite bathroom with some nice toiletries included. Some have baths, some have showers only.
Camp beds are provided for dads to sleep in before the birth, but not afterwards. They have to make do with a reclining chair. Perhaps an exception will be made for Prince William.
Operating theatres across the corridor can be ready within minutes to carry out emergency cesarean sections. In Britain, about 25 percent of all births are cesarean sections, versus 30 percent in the U.S. ABC News understands that the duchess plans to have a natural birth.
The food is much better than regular hospital food, and there’s a wine list, but it’s not fancy. Normally, dads aren’t allowed to order from the menu, but Prince William can always can pop out to one of the nearby fish-and-chips or curry restaurants.
The midwives, consultants and anesthetists who work at the Lindo come from all over the world. Many also work for the state-funded National Health Service.
After birth, mothers and babies are moved to the postnatal floor. Midwives are on hand to help with breastfeeding and give tips on how to bathe newborns. There’s a 24/7 nursery so that new moms can get some rest. Family and friends can visit anytime.
Deliveries in standard rooms cost from $7,500 with a standard room, and $10,000 for a cesarean section. Additional nights cost around $1,500. Suite prices are higher.
Jean-Nicholas Fievet’s son, Hector, was born in the Lindo Wing in April.