HOUSTON - Some of the nicest maternity suites in the Texas Medical Center cost several hundred dollars, but for the Duchess of Cambridge, her suite will cost anywhere from $9,000-$15,000. Royal or not, there are some other marked differences between birthing in the U.K. and birthing here in the U.S.
The birth of His Royal Highness, the First Prince of Cambridge, is an international affair as the world shares in the good news. The Royal Family is celebrating at the very private, very luxe Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital where a private chef and champagne are at the ready.
Though we don't know many details about the royal birth, we do know women in the U.K. are encouraged to have natural births without epidurals, a sharp contrast to women in America.
Houston Methodist Obstetrician and Gynecologist Dr. Hailey Hall told Local 2, "Women don't want to be in pain here. They're more likely and apt to experience it there, so the patient's request and choices play a big role in that as well."
Similarly, Cesarean sections are much less common in the U.K. -- just one in four births compared to one in three in the U.S.
Dr. Hall explained, "I'm not surprised that it's higher in the U.S. Obesity is an issue and that definitely increases the c-section rates. I think also elective c-section is an option now. People can just choose to have an elective c-section."
When it comes to feeding baby, 81 percent of British moms breastfeed. In America, it's about 77 percent.
Dr. Hall said no matter what the Duchess decides to do, these next few days with her new son are crucial for bonding.
She added, "It really helps to do that skin to skin (contact) and if mom's asleep and dad can do the skin-to-skin, that bonding and that temperature regulation really helps too. That's what I would focus on. That and getting rest when the baby does."
Another big difference: Moms in the U.K. get one year for maternity leave. Kate is expected to take 26 weeks off, but has cleared her calendar for the rest of 2013.
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