Meghan Markle wants to have a water birth in a royal first
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pictured at the Bristol Old Vic theatre on February 1
The Duchess of Sussex is using yoga and meditation to prepare for a home water birth.
Water births are considered a safe option for women who have given birth before with no complications.
So Meghan, 37, has not ruled out a hospital visit when she goes in to labour with her first baby, as royal sources reveal the Kensington Wing of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is a ‘preferred option’, according to The Sun.
Amal Clooney and Cheryl Tweedy have previously given birth in the private wing where luxury packages can cost up to £15,000.
And Guy Thorpe-Beeston, the royal obstetrician who helped deliver the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children, works there.
But Meghan has indicated she does not want ‘men in suits’ delivering her baby and will choose between female consultants Charlotte Deans, Mina Savvidou and Natasha Singh to help with the birth.
One source previously told the Mail on Sunday: ‘Meghan said she doesn’t want the men in suits. She was adamant she wanted her own people. It did leave a few of us a little baffled.’
And although the Queen’s physicians do not charge a fee the new team of specialists are expected to charge tens of thousands.
A platinum premium package at the Kensington Wing costs £9,100.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit New Zealand House in London last month on March 19
What does the Kensington Wing of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital offer?
The luxury wing offers 24-hour room service and £75 bottles of champagne
The Kensington Wing of the Chelsea and Westminster hospital has 16 bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms, televisions, fridges and Wi-Fi.
It costs a whopping £5,600 for a normal delivery there while the Midwifery Led Care Platinum Package will set you back £9,100.
The hospital boasts 1,500 works of art and regularly holds concerts for its patients.
Chelsea trust chief executive Heather Lawrence previously called the service a ‘Rolls-Royce option: ‘Quite a lot of women are well into their forties, professional and affluent who are risk-averse and have fertility issues.
‘They’re looking for tranquility, calm and space which is difficult to achieve on the NHS. The quality of care is exactly the same between private and NHS. It’s just a different environment.
The hospital boasts 1,500 works of art and regularly holds concerts for its patients
‘We’re providing the Rolls-Royce end of private maternity care and the money can be used to improve services instead of going to the private sector.’
The wing’s website reads: ‘The birth of a new baby is a very special moment for any family. The Kensington Wing at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is designed to provide you and your baby with the best possible care to ensure that your stay is as relaxed as possible.
‘We offer a wide range of bespoke options for the various stages of pregnancy to meet your individual needs including both Consultant and midwifery led care packages.
‘Of the 5,000 babies delivered each year at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, more than 700 patients choose to deliver their baby privately at The Kensington Wing.
‘The Kensington Wing offers you the peace of mind of having the comfort of private care with the clinical back-up of one of the safest hospitals in the UK.’
Birth-balls, beanbags, floor mats, birthing stools and birthing pools are available
Another source close to the couple said Meghan’s interest in homeopathy has led her to using meditation and yoga to help prepare for the birth.
They told the Daily Star Sunday: ‘Apparently she wants it to be as natural as possible: no drugs, no cesareans and so on. It’s the next logical step from all her yoga, meditation and so on.’
The Kensington Wing offers smoked salmon for breakfast, £75 bottles of champagne and private rooms with en-suite bathrooms, 24 hour room service, a TV, fridges and WiFi.
The Duchess of Sussex during a visit to the National Theatre in London in January – her first since becoming its patron
Its website reads: ‘The Kensington Wing is designed to be a comprehensive maternity unit with private consultation rooms for your antenatal appointments, a medical day assessment unit, three labour rooms, a water-birthing suite, nursery, post-natal en-suite bedrooms and a luxury postnatal suite.
‘Our delivery rooms are furnished with all the equipment necessary to monitor you and your baby during labour and birth.
‘We encourage choices in birth position and can provide birth-balls, beanbags, floor mats, birthing stools and birthing pools. We offer all the services you would expect in a luxury hotel.’
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney gave birth to twins Ella and Alexander at the wing in 2017 – and it is thought Meghan is listening to her friend’s advice.
The royal couple are thought to have hired celebrity nanny Connie Simpson who helped Amal after she gave birth to her twins.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told aides to keep arrangements for the birth of their baby private.
The couple were said to have taken a ‘personal decision’ to maintain a high level of privacy around the birth of their first child, which is expected in the very near future.
And the birth will not be announced until the new family have spent time with their newborn and celebrated the birth in private.
Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland is expected to fly over from the US to be at the birth and will stay to help her daughter ‘for a long while’, sources told The Sun.
Kensington Palace said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to keep details about the arrangements for the birth of their baby private
‘Meghan will be in charge but will be very grateful for her mother’s help and advice. She is not in touch with her father at the moment, but her bond with Doria is extremely strong and important to her,’ they said.
The decision by Harry, 34, and Meghan not to announce the names of their medical team or a chosen hospital saw bookmakers slash the odds on them opting for a home birth.
The Daily Mail revealed this week that a midwife-led home birth was the ‘favoured choice’ of Meghan – although she told friends she had not ruled out a hospital delivery.
Sources said the couple wanted to avoid the glare of publicity which surrounded the births of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s three children, which saw huge numbers of media and well-wishers gather outside the Lindo Wing, the private maternity unit of St Mary’s Hospital in west London.
Well-placed sources said the couple have referred to the Lindo Wing as ‘a goldfish bowl’.
There will also be no public photocall, in stark contrast to William and Kate, who posed on the steps of the hospital to present their newborns to the world only hours after the births of Prince George in 2013, Princess Charlotte in 2015 and Prince Louis last year.
The photocall had become a tradition for royal watchers, but while William and his oldest child George are the second and third-in-line to the throne, Harry and his son or daughter are not in the direct line of succession.
He appears to have followed the lead of his cousin Zara Tindall, who did not announce the arrangements for the births of her two daughters.
Buckingham Palace will announce when the Duchess of Sussex goes into labour, but not whether she has been admitted to hospital.
A second announcement will be made after the baby is born, when aides expect to be able to announce details of the baby’s gender, its birth weight and the place of birth.
The news will be confirmed only after the new parents have had the chance to tell their family and friends, as was the case with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s three children.
Harry and Meghan are said to have quickly ruled out using the private Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, like William and Kate (pictured with Prince Louis on April 23 last year)
A source told the Daily Mail: ‘They want a couple of hours just to enjoy being parents for the first time before the rest of the world is told. It’s perfectly natural as it’s such an important moment in anyone’s life.’
The Duchess of Sussex attends a reception at Buckingham Palace in London on March 5
Two days later the new parents and their child will pose for photographs in Windsor.
The baby’s name will not be announced immediately. The name Diana remains the bookmakers’ favourite if the child is a girl, followed by Victoria and Alice. Albert and Philip are the most popular boy’s names.
The child will be seventh in line of succession and may not be styled an HRH if the Sussexes follow Prince Edward and Princess Anne, who wanted less public attention on their children.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby.
‘Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The duke and duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.’
Meghan has been considering a midwife-led home birth at Frogmore Cottage, near Windsor, although friends stressed that the duchess had not ruled out a hospital delivery if needed.
The couple have made repeated pleas for greater privacy, and their decision to move to Frogmore Cottage was said to reflect their wishes to raise their family away from public attention.
The Queen gave birth to each of her four children at either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House (pictured with Prince Andrew, four, and a newborn Prince Edward in June 1964)
Meanwhile expectant father Harry was handed baby gifts from well-wishers as he officially opened a £6.15million youth centre in Barking, east London.
He chatted with former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward and his wife Jayne in the sports hall of the Future Youth Zone, and played a quick game of touch rugby with him.
Lady Woodward, who has known Harry since he was a teenager, said the duke had exhibited no sign of nerves about his impending fatherhood.
‘Not at all,’ she said. ‘I think he’s just so excited. He will make the most wonderful father.’
How home births are not normally recommended for your first child
Home births are generally considered a safe option if women have already had a baby – provided there were no complications.
But they are not normally recommended for those having their first child.
This is because new mothers may experience problems during the birth which require a caesarean or forceps delivery, which can only be done at hospital.
In recent years health officials have been trying to encourage women to consider having their babies at home, or in birthing units, instead of in hospital.
Not only are these options cheaper for the NHS, they also provide a more relaxing experience away from the stress and noise of a busy labour ward.
Furthermore, a large number of NHS trusts do not have the staffing capacity or funding to provide dedicated midwives to run birthing units. But many women are understandably reluctant to have their babies away from hospital just in case something goes wrong, and they are far away from doctors and nurses.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that only 2.1 per cent of women in England and Wales had a home birth in 2017. The remainder had their babies in hospital or midwife-led units, although the data does not give the respective numbers.
There are no official figures on the safety of home births compared to those which take place in hospital or smaller, midwife-led birthing units.
Guidelines from the health watchdog Nice, published in 2014, state that women do not need to book a hospital delivery unless they are at high risk of complications. They can consider a home birth if they have already had one child. But if it is their first child they should go to a midwife-led unit. The guidance states: ‘Midwives should explain to the mother-to-be that she may choose any birth setting… and support her in her choice.’
It adds: ‘Midwives should advise low-risk women who have already had at least one child to plan to give birth either at home or in a midwife-led unit.’
Advice from Tommy’s, which funds research to prevent stillbirths, says: ‘If you’ve had a baby before and this pregnancy is low-risk, giving birth at home is generally a safe and suitable option.’