Published on March 23rd, 2023
Discovering that you are pregnant is such a special time in your life. However, for anyone living abroad it can also feel incredibly daunting: not only is the language different but the medical system, expectations and traditions vary too. We are here to help with everything you need to know if you are planning to give birth in Germany.
Booking-in with your gynaecologist
As soon as you discover that you are pregnant, call your gynaecologist (Frauenarzt) for a booking-in appointment. They will go through your medical history and most likely do a scan to confirm the pregnancy. You will then visit them at least once a month over the next 9 months.
Your gynaecologist will issue you with a “Mutterpass”, which is an A5-sized booklet which contains all the important information about your pregnancy. You should take it with you to all medical appointments and carry it with you at all times towards the end of your pregnancy.
Find a midwife
It is important that you start to look for a midwife as soon as your pregnancy has been confirmed. Generally, the midwife provides you with support in the weeks following the baby’s birth. They come to your home to check that you and your baby are recovering well after the birth and provide you with lots of useful information. While midwives provide excellent care, they are generally very overworked so it is definitely a good idea to get yours organised as soon as possible!
Where to give birth?
There are a variety of options for where you can give birth. Home births are not especially
common, with under 2% of babies being born at home in 2021. Midwife-led facilities are an
option if you want to minimize medical intervention. The most popular option though is to
give birth in a hospital. Here it is worth paying attention to the facilities available. For
example, some clinics have a paediatric unit on site while others may move the baby to a
different location in the event of complications after the birth.
Once the baby is born, the paediatrician (Kinderarzt) will be responsible for medical care, with regular appointments throughout the course of the first year. Your baby will be issued with a yellow “Untersuchungsheft” booklet before you are discharged from the hospital and this will accompany your child to all medical appointments for the first ten years of their life.
Did you know? Germany has very strict rules when it comes to naming your child. Very unusual names may be deemed to not be in the child’s best interests and can be refused by the authorities.
This is just a quick taster of the most important things to know when you are expecting a baby in Germany. If you would like to know more, or you need help planning a relocation, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Expats Guide, we will be happy to help!