June 24, 2013— -- Kate Middleton may be a duchess but of course she's not immune to the discomfort of labor and child birth.
Well, OK. Her birth may be more comfortable than most, since rumor has it her private birthing suite comes complete with a wine menu. But she'll still likely endure contractions and pushing – or a cesarean section -- just like any other new mom.
"My understanding is that she intends to have a natural birth, but obviously it's too early to say really," said ABC News royal contributor Victoria Murphy.
Royal sources say Middleton will deliver at St Mary's Hospital in London, which has a private maternity wing which requires a deposit of £5,500 pounds – or about $8,600 – just to book it. And that's assuming she plans a vaginal delivery. If she opts for a cesarean section, it will cost nearly $12,000 to book.
"Deluxe" suites are available on request, according to the brochure.
"Think 'high tea' in the maternity ward," said Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a senior medical contributor for ABC News.
A private delivery room in the Lindo Wing comes with a TV, a safe and a fridge, according to the brochure. It comes with internet access and a daily newspaper of the patient's choosing delivered each morning. A hotel kitchen prepares meals from an "extensive and nutritious" menu.
"We offer a comprehensive wine list should you wish to enjoy a glass of Champagne and toast your baby's arrival," the brochure reads.
Ashton said the suites are mostly intended to make the hospital room feel more like home.
"As it is, a lot of women even without that kind of luxury are encouraged to bring things from home – like a pillow – to make the experience more comfortable for them," she said.
Dr. Javier Fajardo, an OB/GYN at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said luxury birthing rooms are uncommon, and don't actually result in better outcomes for mothers or their babies.
"Is it really necessary? No," he said. "I believe what's important is to have a safe environment for the patient and for the infant."
Like most expectant mothers, Middleton has a doctor who has been overseeing her pregnancy from the beginning. But Middleton's, of course, is reportedly the royal gynecologist to Queen Elizabeth, Dr. Marcus Setchell, who will be assisted by Dr. Alan Farthing.
Ashton said its best to find an obstetrician "as soon as the pregnancy test is positive." In the United States, this may mean sticking with a longtime OBGYN or finding a new one at the recommendation of friends and family. More often than not, patients go to a practice with a few doctors and get whichever one is available on the day they go into labor.
But Middleton's pregnancy hasn't always been easy. In December, she was hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but acute form of morning sickness that typically results in weight loss. The illness forced the royal family to announce the pregnancy early.
Middleton likely saw Farthing once a month until she was about 28 weeks pregnant, twice a month until she reached 36 weeks and once a week after that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health.
As the duchess gets closer to her due date, she probably has a birth plan, which includes where she'll deliver and whether she'll do so with or without painkillers. She could give birth vaginally or opt for a cesarean section – as gamblers have guessed, assuming that Middleton is "too posh to push."
Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, who was pregnant during the royal wedding with her fourth child, had all four children by elective cesarean section. Instead of giving birth vaginally, she opted to have her babies surgically removed from her abdomen.
Elective c-sections have become increasingly common in the United States, too, but it's not for everyone, Ashton said. It's "major abdominal surgery" that comes with certain risks, and it can at least two weeks to recover, she said.
"This is controversial even within the field [of OBGYNs]," Ashton said. "There are a lot of women who have significant fear of vaginal delivery, and it's a real thing. It doesn't make it right or wrong."
Murphy said she thinks that Middleton will give birth vaginally, but if she has a c-section, she won't be the first royal to do so. Queen Elizabeth II was born via c-section, she said.