So, you’re pregnant! Congratulations! … chances are if you’re reading this, then you’re living in Düsseldorf and have no idea what you should do and where you should start when it comes to preparing for your pregnancy!
First of all, enjoy your new situation! You’re pregnant!
Many soon-to-be-mommy’s will likely have 101 questions to ask, but no one to ask the questions to. Finally, we have an expert in pregnancies and preparation (especially in the international communities) here to give us an info-packed guide on preparing for your pregnancy in Düsseldorf. Please welcome Doula Brid Céline Michael, Founder of Doula Brid (and conveniently a local English, French, German and Spanish speaking Doula in Düsseldorf).
A magical thing is happening inside of you.
You might be employed or not, be afraid to tell the world or not, have to tell your boss because your job requires immediate paid suspension or not, have constant nausea or not, be tired or not, have waited for the baby or not.
Regardless of the reasons, if you feel like having an anonymous consultation about your new situation you can always contact the Federal Ministry “Schwanger und Viele Fragen” hotline for free, 24/7. This service is available in many languages.
There are so many thoughts, fears, joys, dreams, nightmares, and information out there on the internet, in books, from your family members, and friends… and your hormones going crazy.
I would like to give you some orientation to relax your mind in order to make your pregnancy an amazing, life-changing experience.
First things first, you will need a midwife.
You may have already heard, but it is quite challenging to find a midwife in Düsseldorf, so I highly recommend you begin your search right now (whether you’ve just taken your first pregnancy test or you’re just learning about this now, get going)!
Do not worry, you can always cancel your midwives services if you are not happy, but you will need to begin making those calls (starting from the bottom of the „Hebammenliste“ – midwife lists). Most women begin to make calls from the Hebamme list starting from the last name „A“… so you can begin by calling „Z“ and thus increasing your chance to find someone speaking your language ASAP.
The midwives services are covered by your insurance company (public insurance covers the “Wochenbettbetreuung” during the first 12 weeks). During the first 10 days after your birth, the midwife will visit your home once a day. If you have had a home birth or outpatient (ambulant) labor, the midwife may even come twice a day during the first 10 days. A total of 16 visits are covered within the first 12 weeks. Afterward, you have 8 more visits as long as you breastfeed and then again for a ‘solid foods’ consultation.
Where can you find a midwife?
- The magazine kidsgo offers lists to find a midwife in your region
- The Hebammenzentrale Düsseldorf – a midwife agency offers the service to find a midwife that lives in your neighborhood
- Hebammensuche is also a great website
- Hebammen Düsseldorf offers a list of midwives in different neighborhoods
- The DRK offers a free “Hebammensprechstunde”
- Alternatively, start making a search on Google and see who you can find
Unfortunately, most pages are in German, but you’re going to have to be a little flexible here to find a midwife.
Tip: I recommend searching for a midwife in your neighborhood so it is easier for both you and the midwife to meet up. If the mom requires urgent help, it is always better to have a midwife that lives close by.
What does the midwife do?
In Germany, we have a big luxury. The midwives are allowed to practice their art outside of a hospital setting. Some have midwife centers, but most of them work freelance and visit their patients at home.
This is great if you don’t have to wait at a doctor’s office and instead, just wait at home. Especially if you already have smaller children to look after.
The midwife is the specialist for pregnancy and can do a lot of examinations on her own. Most of the time they see pregnancy as natural and joyful events and are less worried (and technical) than the gynecologists.
Midwife services include:
- Confirmation of your pregnancy
- Hand out of your „Mutterpass“ – mother pass – record of medical procedures and state of health (the English version)
- Help with discomfort
- Support in case of abortion
- Blood, urine and routine analysis
- Birth preparation
- Birth assistance – there are only a few „Beleghebammen“ – these are midwives who have contracts with hospitals and who you meet before labor to build up a trustful relationship
- Postnatal care
- Support in case of stillborn child
- Regress gymnastics
- Nursing consultancy
- Complimentary food consultancy
It is up to you whether you would like to have a midwife, a gynecologist, or both.
What about a gynecologist?
Finding a gynecologist shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re looking for some expat recommended English speaking gynecologist offices, then make sure you read this blog post:
You will do your ultrasounds in a gyn’s office, usually, three of these appointments are paid by the health insurance. The prenatal checks covered by the health insurance, according to the Mutterschutzrichtlinien, typically take place every 4 weeks by a midwife or gynecologist if everything runs smoothly. If there are any health issues, you can contact your midwife or gyn every time. Especially if a woman is expecting twins or even more babies, or has any medical problem, she can contact one of her health providers at any time. From week 30, the checks take place every two weeks and if the woman passes the due date she will be checked every two days either by her midwife, gyn or at the hospital until the baby is born.
If you experience pain or discomfort and need to go in for an extra meeting, these appointments will also be covered by your health insurance.
There will be some „Igelleistungen“ – additional services and examinations that will be offered to you as well. Please, trust your intuition whether certain information is good for you because it can have the opposite effect and make you worry unnecessarily.
Please note: Your health insurance has to be informed about your pregnancy. Please contact your insurance whether it is public, private or even foreign to check which services they pay for or refund.
Where can you give birth?
Düsseldorf offers six maternity clinics, a birthing center which offers homebirth as well, and two „Beleghebammen“ who can assist your labor in the Uniklinik or Florence Nightingale maternity clinic.
- Diakonie: the two Beleghebammen who work there are Lara Mischel and Frederike Pleie
- Uniklinik: with an international patients office (you can also find a beleghebamme here)
- Evangelisches Krankenhaus
- Sana Kliniken Gerresheim und Benrath
- Midwife birthing center & home birth
Depending on where you would like to give birth, you should contact the corresponding midwife as soon as possible to make your decision work out.
For a list of hospitals and a bit of information about each, please stay tuned! We will be including a link in this blog post shortly.
NOTE: You can only hire one midwife. So, if you wish to give birth at home or in the midwife birthing center, you will need luck to find a midwife who is working with their team. They offer pre- and postnatal care as well as the labour itself. If you want a Beleghebamme, she will do the pre- and postnatal care as well as the labor but only in the hospital that she has a contract with. The rest of the Hebammen will either offer pre- and postnatal care or just postnatal care. The woman will give birth with a shift midwife she usually hasn’t met before. This is the big advantage of the doula. She can join you wherever you want to give birth. Sometimes situations during pregnancy vary and you might have to change the birth center out of medical reasons. The doula is independent from the birthplace.
Can I hire a Doula instead of a Midwife?
Of course! Many women decide to hire a doula instead of a midwife due to lack of midwives in the city and the numerous preparation courses that Doula’s offer.
There are some doulas – birth assistants as well who offer active one-to-one labor support and translation. A doula is a mother who has been trained to bolster the woman in labor to find her own pace and way of giving birth.
She lovingly cares for the woman and couple to make the birth of their baby a safe and unforgettable, positive experience.
Birth preparation is possible as well as other services like massages, yoga, breathing techniques, hypnobirthing, etc. to provide different tools during pregnancy and labor.
Where can you find a Doula?
How much does a Doula typically cost?
The costs vary from around 600 – 1,200 Euros for the whole service package:
- 1-2 meetings before birth
- 10 days on call (Rufbereitschaft 24 hours) before the due date
- 10 days on call after the due date
- The whole birth
- One meeting after the labor
A couple last words before we end this post. The most important thing is to enjoy your pregnancy and to listen to your maternal intuition. If you don’t mind reading a little German, there is an excellent source which provides more information about “Mutterschutz” on Frauenärzte im Netz.
If you have any questions about hiring a Doula in Düsseldorf, please feel free to contact Brid on her website Doula Brid. Any questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio and photo.